OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said if Government is serious about getting TT out of the economic crisis “they created”, it must get the energy sector working again.
One of the ways to effect this transformation, she said, it to replace Energy Minister Franklin Khan who has failed his primary function of ensuring energy security and energy independence.
She said the People’s National Movement (PNM) Government continues to ignore the crisis in the energy sector.
Following Opposition MP for Pointe-a-Pierre David Lee's motion of no confidence moved in Khan in the Parliament on Friday, Persad-Bissessar said in a statement, “the Keith Rowley led government continues to act as though TT’s vital energy sector is in good shape, instead of the crisis state it is currently in.”
The Opposition highlighted what it termed, the devastating state of the country’s oil and gas industry in the Parliament.
“True to form, the Government refused to accept reality, and tried to skirt around the serious issues affecting the sector.”
She said Khan, in defending his track record, refused to acknowledged his failure to boost oil production resulting in the lowest levels of output since the 1940s.
She said he failed to explain what expert recommendations were used to justify the closure of Petrotrin, why the bid to purchase the refinery, critical to the economy, was initially accepted and then rejected.
Pointing to the unfolding crisis at the Point Lisas Industrial Estate, she again gave Khan a failing grade.
“More than half of petrochemical companies have either shut operations permanently or been mothballed,” she said, pointing to the importance of the companies on this estate which generated more than a quarter of TT’s forex revenues.
She also factored into his “failings” the ability to craft concrete proposals to counteract the current shortage of natural gas.
“These are but a few of Minister Khan’s failings. The primary function of any minister of energy in any economy in any country is to ensure two things – energy security and energy independence.
“All of these areas are now under threat thanks to this incompetent Government.
“We wish to remind the Government that they have, in spirit, supported our motion, as Minister Khan has effectively been made a junior minister to his bosses – Minister Imbert and Minister Young. “It’s clear that the Government has lost confidence in Minister Khan’s ability and competence to deal with energy matters.”