EYEBROWS are being raised over government’s urgency to have the asset purchase agreement of the former Petrotrin refinery and port by Patriotic Energies and Technologies Company Ltd signed off before the August 10 general election.
OWTU president general Ancel Roget said “Election or no election our eyes are on the prize to close that process to ensure workers are given jobs.” He said restart of the refinery is too important to the country to allow an election to put negotiations on hold.
“When that day (August 10) comes around and you the people would be asked to make a decision you need to have the information to make that decision.” He said the OWTU is committed to “bringing that information to you what you do with that information is up to you.”
He said months after Patriotic secured the bid to restart the refinery he would have expected the process to be further along but election is not going to stop Patriotic form pursuing its goal.
“Nobody absolutely nobody be he prince pauper prime minister opposition leader labourer general manager man in the street or man in management nobody will prevent us from going forward to acquire what belongs to the people on behalf of the people ” Roget said.
He said the Prime Minister gave a wrong impression on July 15 at a Petrotrin Land Distribution Programme launch when he indicated his readiness to sign off on the agreement to complete the first stage of the process before the election.
Giving an update of the status of the acquisition on Thursday Roget said Patriotic’s very profound and costly investment provides “hope a ray of sunlight a brighter sky for the people of TT.”
Roget along with two of Patriotic’s directors Ozzi Warwick and Richard Lee were locked in a marathon meeting with the chairman of Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Ltd (TPHL) Newman George CEO of Paria Fuel Trading Company Ltd Mustaq Mohammed along with the company’s attorney on Thursday to ensure closure of the acquisition.
“Our one objective is to ensure that the country has real fuel security by the reopening of that refinery free from political interference in the interest of all the people of TT.” Roget said they have painstakingly gone through all the requirements and what is needed now is a co-operating hand with the OWTU to close this process and ensure the country benefits. He anticipates around 4 500 jobs will be created during the turnaround and construction phase plus permanent sustainable jobs for those involved in the refinery operation. Involved in the turnaround process would be a major injection of much needed foreign exchange in to the country’s economy. “Any which way you look at it this is going to benefit the people of TT.”