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No union should hold country to ransom

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Petrotrin (then Texaco) refinery was once rated as the ninth largest in the world, with a capacity of 360,000 Barrels. That was in its heyday. Now, years after, the effects of globalisation, political excesses and a Cepep/URP mentality as befits our people, we have a half-blind, constipated, lame refinery, capable of producing only 50,000 barrels per day. This, with a staff, hired directly or indirectly, of around 11,000.

This figure translates into a lot of union dues. To compound this, our local production has dropped to the lowest levels in years, and we have to import crude to keep the refinery operational.

Recent headlines in the press screamed about the $billion losses experienced by Petrotrin over the years.

Considering these annual losses, the reduced production, lower prices and higher maintenance and operation costs, where has Petrotrin been getting funds to finance its daily operations? Have my tax monies been used to keep this bed-ridden outfit operational?

Comparing apples with apples, only a few years ago, we read in the local press where the refinery in St Croix had closed operations—rated at 380,000 barrels and with a total staff of just under 1,800. Yes, under 1,800 people, as reported by the media. The operation was just no longer profitable.

Just using this as an example should not, therefore, Petrotrin be closed? I say closed, because given the uncertain state of its assets, no one would want to touch it at this time.

We do have some intelligent and skilled workers on board who can no doubt gain employment elsewhere. As for the dead weights, maybe various party groups and the unions can absorb them. This is what the Government is concerned about.

The bottom line is no union should hold this country to ransom. My tax monies can be better used for health, education, youth development and for better utilities.

We have to get out of the senseless gimme-gimme syndrome and evolve with the times.

Shut Petrotrin down. To be more vocal, shut the drain down.

Yusuf Codrington, St Ann’s, Mayaro


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