Tabaquite MP, Anita Haynes, has noted with concern the government’s latest turnabout regarding the sale of the Petrotrin Refinery.
In a media conference hosted by the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Finance on Tuesday, the country was made to learn that government rejected yet another bid by Patriotic Energies and Technologies Company Limited to acquire the Petrotrin Refinery.
Haynes said “The Government continues to play its game of surprise, trifling with our billion-dollar assets. The Finance Minister has flip-flopped on this issue at almost every turn, constantly introducing new policy caveats which have negatively affected the sale of the refinery.”
She said “The Minister of Energy is truly clueless and separated from the very stakeholders whose best interest he is mandated to secure. While he described the refinery as a cancer, the real cancer is the unemployment and consequent financial ruin that hundreds of households have been facing as a result of the government’s blindsiding decision in 2018.”
Moreover, Haynes noted the government’s apparent indifference to the men and women stuck in limbo. “There’s no sugar-coating the fact that the government has abandoned citizens on the argument of dollar and cents. Still, even in that argument, there are flaws. We recognise the costs involved in selling the refinery as well as rehabilitating the refinery towards restarting operations. But what of the opportunity cost? What of the losses accrued every day that the refinery remains dormant?”
Haynes also echoed FOREX concerns raised by the Leader of the Opposition, Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar. “Our country’s bread and butter is the energy sector and the government’s decision to return to the open market, rather than working to ensure that one of our greatest assets remains in the hands of citizens of this nation, is their latest act of contempt towards the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” Haynes lamented.
Haynes asserts, “More than two years later and the government continues to add insult to injury with respect to the Petrotrin shut down. It’s clearer now more than ever before that there was no plan informing the sudden and callous closure of the refinery. Sadly, this marks yet another chapter in the erosion of trust in this PNM-government.”