The Prime Minister announced that in the coming days, the Government intends to sign off with the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) regarding the sale of the defunct Petrotrin refinery at Pointe-a-Pierre.
“This is a sane, sober, transparent and serious approach to serious billion-dollar business with far-reaching positive or negative consequences for every citizen of TT,” Dr Rowley said.
Rowley, speaking at the Petrotrin land distribution launch at the Palo Seco Government Primary School on Wednesday, charged that the union has a responsibility on August 10 to come out and defend the people of TT.
“To the OWTU, it was all well and good to overstaff a government refinery and lose money. The day you sign your money on it, you will not be doing that. You will run it properly like a business and make substantial profits.”
OWTU is the principal shareholder of Patriotic Energies and Technologies Company Ltd, which won the bidding process to acquire the state-owned refinery.
Rowley said when the agreements are finalised, the people of TT would have solved yet another one of its major problems.
Referring to the closure of Petrotrin in 2018, he said: “This government did not have the luxury of postponing this outcome. It has not been without pain and acrimony.”
Rowley warned that the Opposition was seeking to get into office and attempting to abandon all plans by his administration for the refinery.
If the Opposition, “God forbid,” is elected, Rowley predicted the country would “not be back to square one but back to square one minus.”
Immediately the country will be downgraded, he said.
“They will play the popularity contest. They will come and play smart with stupidness, talking the usual truckload of garbage and when they get it, will abandon you and all of this work.
“Within six months of coming into office, we (PNM) were dealing with Petrotrin and grabbing the bull by the horn.”
He referred to the current Government as a responsible one, saying a responsible government is not always popular.
Among those who attended the launch were Housing Minister MP Edmund Dillon, Energy and Energy Industries Minister Franklin Khan, Petrotrin chairman Reynold Adjodhasingh and Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Company (TPHL) chairman Michael Quamina.
The lands are for former workers who received termination benefits in November 2018 owing to the closure of the refinery and restructuring of the company. One thousand people are expected to get residential lots in phase one of the distribution. The house lots are 5,000 square feet each.
Those who are eligible must not be owners or co-owners of lands. They must be citizens or residents.
The lessee will not be able to assign, sublet, transfer, or part with the possession and /or dispose of the whole or any part of the demised lands under ten years after the grant of the lease.
For the agricultural lots, people would be entitled to two acres with a lease of 30 years subject to a renewal of a further 30 years. Activities will be monitored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries.
Application forms can be downloaded from the TPHL’s website at trinidadpetroleum.co.tt.