OWTU unimpressed with changes at Heritage, Paria

The Oil­field Work­ers’ Trade Union (OW­TU) re­mains "to­tal­ly unim­pressed" with the changes an­nounced by the Gov­ern­ment with re­spect to the sub­sidiary com­pa­nies of for­mer Petrotrin—Her­itage Pe­tro­le­um Com­pa­ny and Trinidad Pe­tro­le­um Hold­ings— the union says in a re­lease.

The OW­TU re­leased the state­ment fol­low­ing the fir­ing of Wil­fred Es­pinet from Trinidad Pe­tro­le­um Hold­ings Ltd. Es­pinet, who led the clo­sure of the Pointe-a-Pierre Re­fin­ery and the re­brand­ing of Petrotrin, has now been re­placed by Michael Quam­i­na as the chair­man of the Trinidad Pe­tro­le­um Hold­in­gs Lim­it­ed. En­er­gy Min­is­ter Franklin Khan made the an­nounce­ment on Thurs­day at the Post-Cab­i­net News Brief­ing.


Gov­ern­ment al­so end­ed its con­tract with ill Her­itage CEO Mike Wi­ley.

The OW­TU ques­tioned the new ap­point­ments.

“The ques­tion must now be asked: on what ba­sis was Michael Quam­i­na ap­point­ed to chair TPHL and Her­itage? On what ba­sis was New­man George ap­point­ed to the Board of Her­itage and to chair both Paria and Guaracara? In this re­gard, it is our opin­ion that the on­ly qual­i­fi­ca­tion these men pos­sess is that one is the Prime Min­is­ter’s per­son­al at­tor­ney and the oth­er is a per­son­al friend.

"How can they in­crease oil pro­duc­tion? This is nepo­tism at its high­est and will cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly not ad­dress the ur­gent need to in­crease crude pro­duc­tion. It is on­ly go­ing fur­ther down the wrong road and will fail in the re­cov­ery of a dec­i­mat­ed com­pa­ny.”

The OW­TU al­so crit­i­cised the “fi­as­co” sur­round­ing Wylie.

“The Min­is­ter of En­er­gy, Franklyn Khan stat­ed that Mike Wylie will be out for an­oth­er six months and at the end of that time he will be eval­u­at­ed to de­ter­mine if he can re­turn. Whilst he is away an in­ter­im CEO will run the com­pa­ny. How­ev­er, this was im­me­di­ate­ly fol­lowed by the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance, Colm Im­bert, say­ing the op­po­site—that there will be an im­me­di­ate re­place­ment for Wylie.

"We note with dis­gust that this is not the first time that Min­is­ter Khan mis­led the pop­u­la­tion. This again calls in­to ques­tion his hon­esty and cred­i­bil­i­ty. We all re­mem­ber his lies about there be­ing no in­dige­nous ca­pac­i­ty to run a re­fin­ery of that com­plex­i­ty, his ex­pressed pref­er­ence for a par­tic­u­lar bid­der and so many oth­er un­truths."

The OW­TU added that the de­ci­sion to close Petrotrin was tak­en in haste and it should have nev­er hap­pened.

"We al­so main­tain that the on­ly rea­son why the Gov­ern­ment closed Petrotrin was an at­tempt to de­stroy the OW­TU. To­day we feel vin­di­cat­ed as the com­pa­ny con­tin­ues to col­lapse be­fore our eyes with more chaos and con­fu­sion to come. Un­for­tu­nate­ly, this means the coun­try will feel the in­escapable, dis­as­trous con­se­quences of the worst de­ci­sion ever tak­en with re­spect to Petrotrin, or any state en­ter­prise," the OW­TU said.

The union con­clud­ed by say­ing that the “Petrotrin sto­ry” is far from over.

"It is clear that the gov­ern­ment re­mains clue­less, con­tin­ues to con­tra­dict it­self and mis­leads the pop­u­la­tion on this Petrotrin is­sue. Un­for­tu­nate­ly, this does not bring any re­lief to the pain and suf­fer­ing of the 4,500 fired per­ma­nent work­ers, 3,000 ca­su­al work­ers, and over 45,000 peo­ple af­fect­ed by the de­ci­sion to close Petrotrin. In ad­di­tion, it cer­tain­ly does not mit­i­gate in any way its im­pact on the coun­try’s econ­o­my and the wider na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty. The OW­TU main­tains that the Per­otrin sto­ry is far from over!"

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