Two former government ministers are among four accused who intend to provide evidence for their own defence as the “Piarco II” preliminary inquiry wraps up.
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Ramnarine: Time for Petrotrin to step up
Energy and Energy Affairs Minister Kevin Ramnarine says yesterday he will take a note to Cabinet next week, calling for an audit of the companies in the sector, including the Petroleum Company of T&T (Petrotrin). He said so during yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair. Ramnarine said Petrotrin was expected to suffer a loss for last year’s financial year and it was not due to the recent oil spills.
According to the minister, there were also external factors which contributed to the expected loss. He said it would mean minimal or near break even. Ramnarine said the oil spills had cost the company about $11 million to date. There have been 11 oil spills in south Trinidad since December 17 last year. The major one took place at La Brea, forcing Petrotrin to hire the services of US firm, Oil Spills Response Ltd, to spearhead clean-up operations along a ten-mile beach in La Brea and Point Fortin. Ramnarine said the company was engaged in maintenance before the spills but would accelerate that exercise.
“It cannot be business as usual for the energy sector in Trinidad. It cannot be business as usual for Petrotrin,” he stressed. Ramnarine said as line minister for Petrotrin, he thought it was time the company “step up their game.” Responding to questions on why the Petrotrin board remained unchanged after the spills, Ramnarine said the board was re-appointed for a two-year term last year and that expires in January next year. “We will be looking at all boards, especially with regard to delivery but now more so with regard to the issue of health, safety and the environment,” he added.