Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar got her facts wrong when she named Prof Kenneth Julien as the former chairman of Petrotrin.
Julien issued a release yesterday noting that Persad-Bissessar named him as the former chairman of Petrotrin, against whom legal action will be taken to recover monies for the unfruitful gas-to-liquids (GTL) projects which cost this country billions.
He said his record of achievement can withstand the Government's "witch-hunt".
Julien pointed to Persad-Bissessar's statement in her budget contribution on October 14, "Mr Speaker, pre-action protocol letters, on behalf of Petrotrin, have been authorised for commencement of legal proceedings against several members of the Prof Kenneth Julien board for negligence, breach of statutory duty."
This statement by the Prime Minister, Julien said yesterday,"was categoric. It described me to be a member of the board of Petrotrin. This is totally false and it is untruthful".
In his 40 years of public service, Julien said he never served either as chairman or a board member of Petrotrin, nor did he have any involve ment in GTL.
He said his professional record is well documented locally, regionally and internationally as professor of engineering, founding president of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and his leadership role in the energy sector—including the Point Lisas development (gas-intensive industries).
"This record of achievement can stand the scrutiny of the current witch-hunt, which also has a negative effect of inhibiting talented and willing individuals from participating in the development of the country," said Julien.
"Trinidad and Tobago is now faced with some serious challenges in the future growth of the natural gas sector ,which has been the driving force of the economy," he added.
Julien pointed out that these challenges include the fact that this country, with less than .25 per cent of the world's gas reserves, is fast losing its leading position in the gas export market, with Qatar having four times the energy production of Trinidad and Tobgo and the United States, our prime market for liquefied natural gas (LNG), shortly to become an exporter of LNG.
He further noted that countries both in West and East Africa are finding gas reserves substantially greater than this country's and aggressively pursuing investments in the gas sector.
"T&T will, in a relatively short period of time, lose its leadership in this area. This difficult challenge can only be faced successfully if the country draws upon the expertise and experience of the young professionals of the energy sector," said Julien.
Contacted yesterday for a response to Julien's statement, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said he cannot comment on whether the Prime Minister may have made an error as he did not have the official Parliament Hansard before him.
"I haven't seen the Hansard, so I can't comment on that; what I can say is that he (Julien) is being sued as the former head of eTecK (Evolving Tecknologies and Enterprise Development Company Ltd)."
"Ken Julien is the former chairman of eTecK, and he is a defendant in a matter that is presently before the courts. That matter is now sub judice and Prof Julien will have his day in court," said Ramlogan.
He disclosed that former attorney general John Jeremie was Julien's attorney in the matter.