State-owned Petrotrin is top heavy and Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget has no problem with anyone in management being fired in the reorganisation of the company. He advised that Government begin filling vacancies in the operational and technical levels at the company. Roget was speaking at a public forum to discuss the Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TTEITI) at Paramount Building in San Fernando yesterday.
He reminded the Government that the OWTU would not allow the privatisation of Petrotrin and suggested that the company be restructured and allowed to reach its highest potential.
Roget said Trinidad and Tobago would benefit greatly from the company being organised in a proper and efficient manner. He said, “So if in this reorganisation people in the top management are given marching orders, we have no problem with that. If in this reorganisation we determine that we have too many vice presidents or we have too many top managers because the company is top heavy, because they would have had at the expense of filling vacancies at the lower level at the core where it matters, in the refinery where they need operators, offshore where you need workers, in the refinery where you need skilled and competent craftsmen and so on, in the fields where you need workers, instead of filling all of those vacancies they would have gone and neglected that and created positions at the top. Our position is that for a successful Petrotrin fill all of those vacancies at the operational and technical level.”
Roget: Petrotrin not a basket case
Roget assured citizens that the trade union would do all that is necessary to ensure that the oil company remains in the hands of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. “Petrotrin will not be privatised as long as there is an OWTU,” he declared.
Roget said Petrotrin can become an efficient asset to the economy despite the decline in oil prices but it “needs to be led properly and managed properly by competent persons who are patriotic to this country.
What you have instead is a set of vultures coming and taking from that entity for themselves and in their own narrow and most times political interest”.
Responding to a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance last week stating that Petrotrin currently owes the Government approximately $1.269 billion in taxes and royalties, Roget said the company had also made a significant contribution to the national economy.
He accused the Government of painting Petrotrin “like a basket case, a case ripe for the picking of some private investors”.
“And so he (Minister Colm Imbert) will lament the fact that Petrotrin owed some TT$1.2 billion in taxes to the Government and that is true. But what he would not say is that for the same years over which Petrotrin has accrued that tax debt to the Government, Petrotrin would have been making significant contribution to the national economy. I want to clear the air on these issues showing the potential that Petrotrin has despite the fact that it has been and continues to be mismanaged on the basis on political interference,” he said.
On Monday, a seven-member committee was appointed by the Government to conduct a review of the operations of Petrotrin. The committee is chaired by Selwyn Lashley, permanent secretary, Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs.