Will the Government allow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to purchase the Petrotrin refinery?
This was one of several questions raised by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar who stated that Governments rejection of Patriotic Energies Limited’s bid for the refinery should come as no surprise.
She stated Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley must immediately resign "for this unforgivable display of negligence and incompetence which has placed Trinidad and Tobago in grave jeopardy,".
The former Prime Minister stated that the press conference with Finance Minister Colm Imbert and Energy Minister Franklin Khan raised more questions than answers.
"Given that the Petrotrin refinery has been shut for almost three years now, and with ever-increasing costs to restart it, who will now want to purchase this asset?," she stated.
"We must also ask the question of whether or not the government will allow the Maduro regime the opportunity to purchase the refinery?" she added.
Persad-Bissessar asked if Patriotic Energies had no set means of financing- on what basis did the Government award them the refinery in the first place?
"Why was Minister Imbert so confident in October of 2019 that the refinery would be reopened in 12 months? It is clear now that all these promises by the Government pre-election to place the refinery in the hands of the citizens were just baseless election gimmicks," she stated.
The PNM, she stated, never intended to honour the pledge they made to sell the refinery to its former workers.
She stated that had Rowley and his Government been
serious about addressing citizens' socio-economic well-being and energy sector, these Petrotrin issues would have been dealt with in a timely manner months before the 2020 General election.
This, she stated would have ensured the reopening of the refinery and also curb issues of forex shortages and unemployment.
She stated the Rowley Government chose to put politics above people by allowing this to become yet another failed promise.
"For the past two years, the PNM has blatantly lied giving false hope to the thousands of ex Petrotrin workers now on the breadline that the refinery would be open. The people of Trinidad and Tobago must never forget this great betrayal by the PNM," she stated.
Persad-Bissessar stated the "destruction" of Petrotrin, along with the crisis unfolding at the Pt. Lisas Industrial Estate due to Keith Rowley's "bad gas negotiations" mean the energy sector is in "complete meltdown".
The ramifications, she stated, are catastrophic.
Persad-Bissessar stated as the largest earner of foreign exchange, the collapse of the energy sector will affect every citizen.
She stated this means our current forex crisis will only get worse.
Persad-Bissessar noted that retailers have already warned that a food crisis is looming due to the inability of many to access forex.