Former government minister Vasant Bharath says the loss of jobs at Petrotrin will undoubtedly cause severe hardship and social and economic dislocation.
He says it is ironic that the decision to shut down the refinery, comes during the week T&T celebrates Independence Day.
Bharath issued the following statement on Tuesday.
"It is noteworthy that the announcement of the planned shutdown of the refinery of Petrotrin has emerged in the week of the observance of Trinidad and Tobago's 56th Anniversary of political independence.
Predicting an exponential increase in fuel prices at the pumps if government succeeded in selling the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery, president general of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union president general Ancel Roget is calling on all citizens to join with the OWTU to stop the government from selling T&T's prized national oil assets.
Petrotrin has confirmed the news that it is ending oil-refinery operations.
The company's management disclosed the news to the media earlier today after discussions with the unions.
The company late issued this statement.
"The Petrotrin Board of Directors met on 2018 Tuesday August 28 with its employee representative unions and the Company’s management to announce plans to end Petrotrin’s oil-refining operations at Pointe-a-Pierre and to redesign entirely its Exploration and Production business.
Trinmar’s Branch President Ernesto Kesar is debunking any notion that the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) had anything to do with the purported sale of Petrotrin’s refinery.
In an interview on Tuesday morning about an hour before the OWTU went into a meeting with Petrotrin’s Board, Kesar said the lives of over 100,000 people were hanging in a balance.
He said about 3,400 workers will be directly affected if the PNM government sold or privatized Petrotrin’s operations.
It was a feeling of gloom and doom outside the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery on Tuesday morning as workers received news that the refinery will be shut down and some 700 workers will be sent home.
From as early as 6 am, an Oilfield Workers Trade Union representative stood outside the main gates advising workers that the union will be addressing them outside Beaumont Hill at 12 midday to give an update on the current state of the troubled oil company.
Some of the workers appeared harassed and frustrated.
Others were angry and a few were nonchalant.
Interview with PSA President Watson Duke on his decision to call on workers to leave buildings in Port-of-Spain.
Minister of National Security and Communications, Stuart Young, has condemned a decision by the president of the Public Service Association (PSA), Watson Duke, to call on workers to vacate their offices following an aftershock this morning.
Duke used a loudspeaker to make his called as he walked through streets of the capital city.
But speaking at today's post-Cabinet news conference, Young denounced Duke's call.
The Oilfields Workers' Trade Union will meet with Prime Minister Keith Rowley at 10.30 am tomorrow to discuss matters related to the restructuring of Petrotrin.
OWTU's Chief Education and Research Officer, Ozzi Warwick said the six-member union team will be led by OWTU President General, Ancel Roget.
Warwick said the meeting was requested by Rowley last week and OWTU accepted the invitation.
After giving the Government a failing grade during his performance appraisal at the annual Labour Day rally in Fyzabad, Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) leader Ancel Roget called on citizens to use the PNM’s third anniversary in office, September 7, to rest and reflect.
His call came immediately after JTUM presented a large report card on stage at Charlie King Junction and asked the unionists gathered to grade the Government on its handling of crime, the economy, labour, health and education.