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Bharath: Oil spill not affecting economy
The oil spill on Trinidad’s south western coastline has not affected the overall economy of the country, Trade Minister Vasant Bharath said yesterday. “I do not think the oil spill will have an effect on the economy. Clearly how we deal with it is an issue from an environmental perspective, if the world is looking on then we have got to show there is efficiency and effectiveness in how we deal with it and putting measures in place to ensure something like this does not happen again,” he said. Bharath, who is acting as Minster of Finance, spoke about the issue at the official signing of a memorandum of understanding between the T&T Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Central Bank at the Hyatt Hotel, Port-of-Spain.
“In terms of how much oil has been lost and how much oil we produced, it is an insignificant amount,” he said, adding that Government is doing everything in its power to contain the problem. “We have utilised all the resources we have. We have imported other resources from the US and they are working as quickly as they can to clean it up. I am not sure if Petrotrin is overwhelmed, they are working as quickly as they can with the resources they have got,” the minister said. Bharath said it has not reached the point where investors are expressing concern: “Clearly people are looking at how the situation is being resolved and quickly it is being dealt with and looking at the cause of it. That is what the audit is about, to understand where the source of it is without jumping to too many presumptious conclusions. Clearly we have a lot of work to do.”
He said it would take a long while before the entire oil spill is cleaned up. “It is a process they have to go through and unfortunately it takes time. It is regrettable that so many people’s lives have been affected by it. It has happened and we have just got to deal with it,” he said. On the topic of crime and the high murder rate so early in the year, Bharath said that has not scared away investors. “There are many countries across the world that are still attracting investors despite high crime rate and Colombia is one of them,” he said. Bharath said the problem of crime did not develop overnight.“We have been grappling with this for several years. There are cultural issues, issues that must be tackled at the primary school level. Those measures will take time to put in place.”