COUVA South MP Rudranath Indarsingh has echoed the concern expressed by CEOs of petrochemical companies about the possibility of 30,000 jobs being put at risk.
This as a result of gas supply implications for the National Gas Company (NGC) which is to invest millions to maintain Atlantic Train 1.
The CEOs met on Friday with Energy Minister Franklin Khan after they wrote to him for clarification and to allay their fears about the implication for downstream customers.
Indarsingh said both the Prime Minister, who is recovering from a heart-related illness, and Khan must urgently resolve these deep concerns raised by the operators of the Point Lisas Industrial Estate about the supply of gas to them and the wider industry. He said he fears as the supplier of gas to the estate, NGC may be in conflict as to how it routes gas supplies in the future.
“Should the NGC be in such a conflict of interest, and should gas supplies to other operators not be available in the required quantities to sustain profitability for these operators, then there are dire, utterly tragic consequences for the many workers employed with these operators.”
Indarsingh said not only would 30,000 workers be put on the breadline if these operators can no longer function at consistent and profitable margins, but there would be great negative consequences for the economy of Couva.
“There would be debilitating impact on food vendors, retailers, taxi drivers, street vendors and other businesses in proximity to the estate and the Couva business district.”
Over the past six years, he noted, there has been an unprecedented closure of several plants on the estate, including at Arcelor Mittal (644 workers), Centrin Trinidad Steel Limited (200), Industrial Plant Services Ltd (100), Tube City IMS (457), Yara (50 permanent and 200 contractual workers), Methanol Holdings (100), Stork (150), Methanex Titan (60) and Nutrien (50).
“The energy sector has been severely curtailed and even destabilised by conflict after conflict,” he said citing the A&V Drilling fiasco, closure of Petrotrin and the ongoing drama over the awarding of the refinery to Patriotic Energies and Technologies.
“Given the PM’s new year message that 'The worst is behind us,' it would be a tragedy of the highest order to see 30,000 more workers join the breadline alongside the over 100,000 workers who have already lost their livelihoods under the Rowley-led PNM administration,” he said.