Government has assisted in every way possible to ensure NiQuan Energy is successful, the Prime Minister said on Thursday.
He made the comments amid a dispute between NiQuan and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI) over NiQuan’s intention to restart operations at its gas-to-liquids plant in Pointe-a-Pierre.
NiQuan claimed it had Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) approval and could begin operations after the accidental death of Allanlane Ramkissoon at the plant in June.
The company also claimed the plant's restart was being prevented by the Government's refusal to supply the company with natural gas.
However, the ministry in response said it has the final say in whether or not the energy company can resume operations as the investigation into the incident is not yet complete.
Speaking at Thursday's post-Cabinet media briefing, Dr Rowley suggested that the Government had no reason to see NiQuan fail.
“NiQuan and the Government cooperated in introducing to our economy some element of economic expansion. That’s the singular basis on which the Government was involved with NiQuan, a private business.”
“The Government would have assisted in every way possible to see that NiQuan would be successful but at the end of the day public interest and private interest did not converge.”
He added that while NiQuan may highlight certain aspects of the dispute, the Government believes it did its part to help the company.
“So what you are seeing is NiQuan telling (the) court what the Government did and didn’t do but the Government’s story is that when the circumstances required (it) the Government assisted.”
In a letter dated August 25, sent in response to a letter from NiQuan dated August 20, the MEEI said NiQuan’s claim that OSHA’s clearance was enough for the company to restart operations was wrong.
It said NiQuan’s view that the incident does not qualify as a major incident involving serious damage to the installation and therefore needed no clearance from the MEEI “is incorrect”.
The ministry said the investigation into the incident was not completed.
It shared a list of 27 requirements to complete the investigation, three of which it said NiQuan had not yet fulfilled.