Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Petrotrin needs to ‘man up’

The recent report of another oil spill should rouse alarm bells among the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. The mishaps of earlier this year were never adequately explained. There was a series of articles in this newspaper which seemed to suggest serious managerial deficiencies. The Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union vociferously added its voice to the call for Petrotrin’s management to own up.

The real impact of the disaster up to now is not really known. Many citizens suspect the clean-up was not properly handled. So, the story has not yet reached a conclusion, not with so many unanswered questions.

It is cause for concern when so many incidents happen in such a short space of time. I have come around to the school of thought that there are no true accidents; there are always underlying factors which contribute to unfortunate events. Sadly, at most times, it is only the dissection of an event that adds to our knowledge of preventing or lessening further occurrences.

I am really surprised that, thus far, there has not been a comprehensive investigation into these incidents and, further, a revamping of Petrotrin’s entire safety structure. There can be no doubt something that is wrong. If such an exercise has indeed been undertaken, it should have been made public and transparent. It does our international reputation no good if we allow ourselves to be continually prone to so many accidents.

It would seem the strategy of the Petrotrin management is blame everybody else. When the spills occurred last year in the Gulf of Paria, we heard allegations that seem tantamount to industrial sabotage! Now again, an audit is to be carried out by an outside entity, and employees were suspended pending that audit. I would think, though, whatever the shortcomings and wrongdoings of staff may be, the board should “man up” and accept that responsibility for these continued lapses rests with them.

Gary S Almarales

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