Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon confirmed that she and other officials met with representatives of the TT Scrap Iron Dealers Association (TTSIDA) to discuss the disposal of scrap metals from Heritage Petroleum.
Speaking briefly to Newsday on Tuesday, she said the decision by Heritage Petroleum to put out an advertisement inviting bids for the sale did not fall under her purview.
“The matter is entirely in the hands of Heritage Petroleum as it involves the disposal of that company’s assets. I cannot speak on their behalf,” Goopee-Scoon said by phone.
On Monday, TTSIDA’s president Allan Ferguson, at a press conference at Signature Hall in Chaguanas, called on the Prime Minister to intervene and meet his members to discuss the sale.
Ferguson told reporters that officials from the state-owned oil and gas company and the Ministry of Trade and Industry previously endorsed a proposal from TTSIDA. Ferguson contends that the original plan assured that the association would execute the project. It would have involved processing and selling the metals.
“The association did come to us and asked for a meeting to discuss their proposal,” Goopee-Scoon said. “We listened to them as stakeholders, but we have no say. They came with what appears to be a very good proposal. I can engage and discuss, but that is it. However, the decision is not at all ours.”
TTSIDA’s project manager Anthony Rampersad reiterated that the advertisement by Heritage Petroleum wa contrary to oral and written assurances from the authorities.
The advertisement says bids will be received using the virtual tender box system and must be e-mailed to email@example.com.
The deadline for the receipt of sealed bids is October 9 at 4 pm.
Newsday contacted officials at Heritage Petroleum for comment, but no response was forthcoming.