Indarsingh: NiQuan collapse a prime example of PNM’s incompetence

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Indarsingh: NiQuan collapse a prime example of PNM’s incompetence

Opposition MP Rudy Indarsingh said it should come as no surprise that the long controversial NiQuan plant will be shutting down operations.

However, in a statement on Thursday, he said what is painful is that seventy-five workers have now been placed on the breadline.

He said the United National Congress has been warning this PNM Government and the nation about the perils of investing into this NiQuan plant since the PNM Government of Patrick Manning insisted on purchasing the plant.

“This plant was purchased by Petrotrin from World GTL at a cost totalling US $400 million. It was eventually sold to NiQuan at a cost of US $35 million, causing a mega- loss of US $365 million to the taxpayers of Trinidad and Tobago. It was a giveaway to PNM friends, and a disaster for the country,” said Indarsingh.

He noted, “The plant failed to produce a single drop of fuel for several years, as its production fell significantly behind schedule. In 2021, a major explosion at the plant rocked several communities across south Trinidad. To date, the report into this explosion has not been made public, despite the potential danger it posed and trauma it caused to surrounding communities.”

“Even worse in July 2023, Allanlane Ramkissoon was killed in a workplace accident at the NiQuan plant. In a shocking move, the Ministry of Energy gave approval for the plant to resume operations, as opposed to the Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA) granting that approval as required the law.”

“The plant and its parent company, NiQuan Energy Trinidad, have also been served with a court ruling which orders the company to pay $21 million to its former Vice President, former “Independent” senator David Small, for monies owed to him for breach of contract.”

Indarsing said it is instructive to note that at the opening of the plant in March 2021, Prime Minister Keith Rowley described the NiQuan plant as “prime example of the successful development of the country’s export potential of higher value-added products…”

“Instead, it is a prime example of the PNM’s corruption, cronyism, disregard for the taxpayers’ dollars, incompetence and lack of patriotism.”

“Today, it is evident that Dr Rowley was pushing a biased propaganda agenda, and was trying to prematurely sell the failure that was the NiQuan plant – which was doomed from the start – as a success story.”

Indarsingh said, “This now collapsed project joins a long list of economically traumatic failures and stabs in the back of the energy sector that have occurred under this functionally decrepit PNM Government and its lazy, constantly miscalculating Prime Minister.”

“The collapse of Atlantic LNG Train 1 before the Government was forced to renegotiate and restructure shareholdership, the murdered Petrotrin refinery, and the questionable Dragon Gas deal are some examples of projects which have been compromised by this government of gangsters, who waste taxpayers’ dollars, give hundreds of millions of dollars to their friends, family and financiers, and relegate honest workers to the breadline.”

He said these 75 workers are the latest in tens of thousands of workers who have been deprived of their bread and butter by an administration who is fattening themselves while starving the rest of us.

“Now that the company is bust, one wonders whether they have the financial resources to pay workers the severance benefits which they may be owed. One also wonders about the family of Allanlane Ramkissoon, which may be pursuing civil action against the company. What will the position of the family be if this company winds down?”

According to Indarsingh: “A United National Congress led by Kamla Persad-Bissessar will reassess the energy projects to which the PNM has committed us as a country and move quickly towards strengthening the energy sector and boosting employment

“The NiQuan plant has, unfortunately, ended up just as the United National Congress warned the nation, a scandal of the highest order.