CEO of Sunstone Equity John Van Dyke yesterday slammed Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal for spreading fake news ‘like US President Donald Trump’ and being a ‘petty politician’ as the country approaches the December 2 local government election.
Van Dyke was responding yesterday to Moonilal who in his budget contribution on Tuesday called on the Oilfield Workers Trade UNion (OWTU) president Ancel Roget, Movement for Social Justice head David Abdulah and him to answer whether former People’s National Movement candidate Vidya Deokiesingh was involved in setting up a meeting at the premises of A&V Drilling with respect to Petrotrin refinery sale.
But Van Dyke fired back, stating that Moonilal was only creating mischief and his allegations were total nonsense.
“I don’t know where he comes up with these fantasy stories...granted the fact that it is an election coming up. He is probably following Mr Trump’s lead in putting fake news out there. It’s utter nonsense.”
He described Moonilal’s rant as a storm in a teacup and baseless.
Van Dyke said he has no time with “petty politicians” when asked if would sue Moonilal for slandering his name and making false allegations.
“Let him look in the mirror and if he can sleep with himself, then that is fine. I don’t have time for this. We have way too many projects on the go right now.”
At no time, Van Dyke said he met or interacted with Deokiesingh.
“I don’t know who he is. Sorry! The only people who I have dealt with while I was in Trinidad were the OWTU, its members and my staff that we hired.”
Van Dyke said he does not get involved in politics or political parties.
Moonilal spoke about photographs that surfaced on social media with Roget, Abdullah and Van Dyke signing an engagement contract.
He insisted the photographs were taken at OWTU’s headquarters, San Fernando, last year by an OWTU member and not Deokiesingh.
Last October SunStone was retained by the OWTU as an investment bank to find financing for the refinery and to put forward the sale of the project.
“Other than that I have not been involved in the deal. We tried to bring it to a conclusion unfortunately at the time the OWTU did not have a written option from the Government nor from the current board of Petrotrin.”
He said SunStone could not proceed any further.
“The project got stalled in respect to the relationship between us and the OWTU. I basically said call me when you get that. And that is where we left it off. Right now we are moving on with all the stuff we are doing. If I get a phone call from them I would be very happy.”
The last conversation Van Dyke held with the OWTU was ten months ago.
Van Dyke said SunStone in their engagement put forward “ three options” (international clients) who were interested in the refinery which he refused to name.
Those clients were international oil companies.
He said three countries expressed an interested in the refinery’s purchase- Surinam, Guyana and Barbados.
“I just thought if the four sovereign nations ( T&T included) were joint venture partners with the OWTU as a minority owner, it would cause a win-win for all parties involved. It would be sad to see that Petrotrin (refinery) would belong to the history books. It is a viable business.”
However, he said it turned out to be “politically sensitive. Probably it was more of a pipe dream on our side. I will tell you this. I believe Petrotrin is a very valuable asset and strategically they are in a very good place with the major oil finds in Guyana which is upwards of nine million barrels of oil a day.”
Van Dyke said the proposal put forward by Patriotic Energies and Technologies Company Ltd- a company wholly owned by the OWTU of upfront cash of US$700 million for the refinery SunStone was not privy to.
“But I can tell you it would not be a difficult deal to put together on that basis.”
In his estimation, Van Dyke said Petrotrin is worth over $2 billion.
As of now, Van Dyke could not say which companies were now interested in the refinery.
He knew the companies that had expressed an interest last October.
“But as far as I know none of those parties are presently involved in this latest proposal.”
Van Dyke said OWTU agreed to pay SunStone expenses to put the proposal together.
“We charged them US$150,000 on a three-month consulting contract and we were to be rewarded a two per cent if we were successful in raising at that particular time $1 billion to do the deal.”
He said the OWTU accepted their terms and they worked two months on the project “until we came to the reality of them not being able to get a written option which they had always said they would get.”
SunStone, Van Dyke said was only paid US$50,000 by OWTU.
“We are still owed US$100,000.”
He hopes the project comes to a conclusion and they be paid eventually.