President-general of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget says there will be “no political interference” in the running of the Petrotrin Refinery once Patriotic Energies and Technologies Limited takes over the running of the refinery.
Roget spoke at the official launch of the logo for Patriotic Energies and Technologies yesterday. The logo is a P with a national flag.
Roget said it was “no secret that the closure of Petrotrin was a devastating blow to the workers and the country and at that time we believed there were choices and that the former company should not have been shut down.”
The company owned wholly by the union was successful in winning the bid for the refinery in Pointe-a-Pierre. The refinery was closed last year and over 4,000 workers were left on the breadline.
Roget maintained yesterday that the refinery should not have been shut down. But in the face of adversities he said the union had taken the “bold step,” of taking control of the refinery and as a result of its initiative the refinery had remained in the hands of the people of Trinidad and Tobago “and there will be no political interference in the management of control of the company.” He reminded the launch that no other local entity, business grouping, chamber, or bank took the patriotic step for Trinidad and Tobago to bid for the refinery, other than the Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union. “I will not listen to the critics and naysayers, they will come along as the union starts to see success will come along,” Roget said.
“We are bringing back regular gasoline, which is now not on the market, we are going to contribute as a good corporate citizen to arts and culture and community development through Trinidad and Tobago,” Roget said boasting that “the company will contribute to the very scarce foreign exchange that now exists in the country.”
Roget said although the closure of Petrotrin had affected the union’s income and it was a sacrifice spending millions for the union to win the bid, it was well worth the sacrifice.
“Absolutely nobody, nobody in this whole country and the whole wide world gave us anything, no one gave us any favour, no government gave us any favour, no opposition gave us any favour.
“In fact what they all do is to take away what we have to struggle, but in this instance no one gave us anything we fought for it and we would have won the bid in flying colours,” Roget said.
He said the company is not going into foreign hands and not into the hands of any entity that is opposed to the economic and social development of T&T.
Patriotic’s proposal indicated upfront cash of US$700 million for the refinery assets plus US$300 million for the non-core assets of Petrotrin, including the Augustus Long hospital.
However, the non-core assets were not offered for sale by the Government.