THE EDITOR: In yet another desperate bid to grab media headlines as a means of cheap self-promotion, the United National Congress (UNC) has caused more harm than good by making “mas” over plans by the National Gas Company (NGC) to allocate monies for the maintenance of the out-of-service Atlantic Train 1 gas supply project.
While it is well known that the NGC has been forced to ration supplies to its valued customers because of production shortfalls, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has apparently decided to abuse the nation’s now vulnerable cash cow by unleashing a heap of criticism at a time when we need all hands on deck.
True to form, Persad-Bissessar used her Monday Night Forum on September 5 to “interfere” in sensitive negotiations being conducted in the most sober surroundings and cast all fate to the wind.
Persad-Bissessar even used the opportunity to throw blows below the belt of hard-working Energy Minister Stuart Young by side-swiping his brother Angus for his firm’s involvement in a company which is far removed from this situation.
“As you know, this PNM government is very close to a Jamaican company called NCB Global Finance. It is headed by one Angus Young, the brother of the super-minister, Stuart Young,” the Opposition Leader told her captive audience, echoing a report in the Trinidad Guardian.
She added: “They were a small company just a few years ago but as luck would have it they have done quite well under the Keith Rowey and Stuart Young regime. I see that they recently became a bank.
“Well, it seems there is another Jamaican company that the PNM government has taken a liking to, Barita Investments. Recently government-owned First Citizens Bank made a substantial investment in Barita.”
Very conveniently, Persad-Bissessar omitted to mention that, in stark contrast with the investment of US$26.7 million paid by First Citizens Investment Service (FCIS) for a 6.1 stake in Barita on December 4, 2020, the FCIS stake was worth an estimated US$40 million on September 3.
She also pounced on NGC chairman Conrad Enil for being “shamefully aware” that there would be no gas from BP for Train One. But they still were giving out hundreds of millions of dollars to contractors.
In seeking to “throw out corn to catch more political fowl,” the Opposition Leader missed the point that to be aware is to demonstrate that you are competently managing your affairs, and there is no question of shame or pride here – as the NGC team has shown,
Other key players, including Finance Minister Colm Imbert, are keenly aware and supportive.
The sad outcome is that as the NGC works vigorously to keep our country’s finances in the black despite the dire circumstances facing the industry, the UNC appears to be insisting that defeat must be snatched from the jaws of victory or, as they say in cycling, “devil take the hindmost.” Discerning observers are however well aware of the very excellent work done by the Government in saving this country from the jaws of economic death in its transactions with world energy giants negotiated by the outgoing UNC government.
This experience has powered Stuart Young to pay keen attention to the current situation in Guyana where the Attorney General is in great pain as he deals with a monstrous oil contract left by the Granger regime.
“Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General Anil Nandlall, during a recent interview, stated that the product-sharing agreement that Guyana signed with American oil giant ExxonMobil is one of the most lopsided agreements signed in the country’s history,” the Kaieteur News reported on September 6.
While this is the kind of scenario which the Opposition would like to see TT descend into, we can rest assured that with energy in the hands of men like Young, we will keep on the path of success – and will also help our Caricom neighbours see the light.
It should also be obvious that, at the rate the UNC is going, there is not a chance of a snowball in hell that it would ever be returned to power in TT. Or, as the old people like to say, that and God face you will never see.