Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says that Venezuelans who fled their homeland to seek a better place in T&T are now returning to take their chances with the Maduro government as they’re seeing what happened in Venezuela under a dictatorial regime also happening in T&T.
Persad-Bissessar was addressing Monday night’s UNC meeting saying T&T’s economy is in a tailspin and the Keith Rowley administration hasn’t shared plans with the public on the issue.
She said Venezuelans told the UNC they couldn’t get jobs and food here and they were choosing to return.
“Many of them tell us they’re seeing happening here, what happened in their own land with a dictatorial regime which destroyed a major oil and gas economy there. They say (Rowley) did the same things Maduro did to Venezuela.”
She said T&T’s oil and gas sectors were destroyed, Petrotrin was a scrap yard, Pt Fortin and Santa Flora ghost towns, and that Pt Lisas is the next junkyard in the making due to PNM’s failed policies.
Persad-Bissessar said foreign direct investment is leaving T&T which has the worst regional outlook
“The country’s in an economic pandemic under this Government,” she said, noting the recent Guardian report on expected mothballing of Atlantic LNG Train 1.
“Greater than this, the impact will be catastrophic for the economy. The flagship company NGC will not be able to withstand this financial shock.”
She reiterated her call for a change of the ‘failed’ Health team because of the COVID death toll nearing 1,000.
“If 900 people died from crime, would Gary Griffith still have a job? So why do we still have this failed Health team?”
UNC deputy leader Jearlean John, quoting Guardian articles by Curtis Williams, also focused on the “NGC $250m blunder” story.
She said, ‘’T&T, which in 2015 when the present government took the reigns of power, stood tall as the world’s largest exporter of methanol and ammonia, has now lost over half its total methanol production and a significant amount of its ammonia output.”
She cited issues in the NGC matter, adding that the current natural gas shortages are directly attributable to the PNM’s failure to engage stakeholders and multinationals in new successful bid rounds.
“Any new gas from 2012 to today is as a direct result of the PP administration. They’ve done nothing to increase the uptick in gas production. It gets even worse – the Train 1 debacle.’’
“Why did NGC undertake a complete refurbishment cost of $250m cost for Train One, where no gas was committed to keep it running and where they only have a 10 per cent stake in Train One? The hapless Energy Minister is saying negotiations are still ongoing – with whom?”
“NGC chairman Conrad Enill advised us to ‘ask the Cabinet’. Clearly, Enill is pointing to the persons who’d have instructed NGC to throw money down the drain. So who gave NGC instructions to invest in a project with an upstreamer to the tune of US$45M. Who is running the commercial considerations in NGC? I really want to know who is being held accountable?”
John, who said there was no way forward for Train 1 based on T&T’s gas supply, asked what was going on with the Loran-Manatee project.
“Can they confirm that they’re in negotiations with Shell to give revised terms that are more favourable – at what cost to the taxpayers?”
UNC MP Rodney Charles who said T&T faced a collapse of the energy sector with Train 1, added “T&T gone through. Hapless Venezuelans who fled that country running back home.”