THE Prime Minister said Patriotic Energies and Technologies is still formulating its bid for the former Petrotrin refinery, replying to Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday in the House of Representatives.
Dr Rowley said before bids were made, a data room let bidders learn of refinery operations, but since being chosen as preferred bidder, Patriotic wanted to see the refinery itself and would do so next week with technical experts.
Asked if Patriotic had said they could get funds to buy the refinery, Rowley said the whole process was ongoing.
“I have detected no withdrawal of enthusiasm by Patriotic.”
Indarsingh asked about the evaluation committee’s six-week deadline to consider Patriotic’s bid, as set by Finance Minister Colm Imbert (on September 20, 2019).
Rowley replied, “You have to understand, Madam Speaker, that no one party can negotiate by itself. It’s a negotiating process. The evaluation committee has to work alongside the company that is prepared to take up the issue.
“So, there is some element of delay involved but we can’t go faster than Patriotic is prepared to go, and the evaluation committee has to have something to evaluate. So if Patriotic has asked for some additional information in this review of the plant, that’s just part of the process.”
Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal scoffed at the Government once touting Patriotic as the only bidder which was local, knew the refinery and offered to bring money to the table.
“Are you telling us today the Government does not know if, when and how much money the preferred bidder can raise and the preferred bidder now needs a tour of the installation to better position their bid? What kind of mickey mouse business has been taking place?”
Rowley retorted, “That is not a question requiring an answer. It is an opinion, and I’m not prepared to comment on the opinion of an underminer.”
Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee considered if Patriotic withdraws its bid.
Rowley replied, “We are moving from a data-room evaluation to actually looking at the refinery itself. This is the process. If along the way Patriotic determines it is too much for them or they are no longer interested, well then we are back to square one. We don’t have an interested party.”