We should welcome refinery investors


A couple days ago I read a very interesting article by The University of The West Indies Professor of Economics Dr Roger Hosein.

Dr Hosein was quoted as saying, “As long as Indian businessman Naveen Jindal is clean and clear to conduct economic activity and business transactions in this country, he should be allowed to invest in the mothballed Petrotrin refinery at Pointe-a-Pierre”.

He pointed out that economic activity around the refinery has fallen by about 40% and if our country can get a foreign investor using private sector capital to restart the refinery, by all means, restart the refinery. This sentiment no doubt is shared by many logical-thinking citizens of this country.

The Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) and its leader, as well as the Opposition leader of Trinidad and Tobago and her team, have an issue with the progress that might come if a deal is made between the Government and Mr Jindal. I strongly believe that they will have an issue with anyone willing to invest in the refinery, only because the OWTU believes they should be granted all rights to it.

What I want to bring to the attention of the OWTU and the Opposition Leader is that they have a great role to play in the demise of Petrotrin, which includes the said refinery that they claim they can revive.

The aforementioned Dr Hosein himself said the closing of the refinery in 2018 was necessary. He added that after looking at the foreign exchange earnings of the refinery, it made sense, from a foreign exchange perspective, to close it. Also, the employment structure in the refinery and the proportion of people were way out of sync with the standardised norm. Was the OWTU aware of that?

In my opinion some trade unions in Trinidad and Tobago are the root cause for major organisations failing. While there are some hard-working employees, poor customer service and inefficient employees are rampant, yet still the unions who represent them have done nothing to increase their productivity. All we hear from the union leaders are what the country can give them and their members.

Trade unionism in Trinidad and Tobago has lost its way. For decades there has been no real progress. There is no unity among them and when one looks at their structure, there is no real stability. While I fully agree that they have a critical role in representing workers, I also believe they have a great role in the development of the entire country and the service that comes from their members. How often do you see unions implementing self-development programmes for members?

The suggested merger between the OWTU and the UNC is nothing new. Been there, done that. The results of the last merger is public knowledge; however, they will do anything to get the refinery. They will merge with anyone for the benefit of themselves.

The irony of the Opposition Leader talking of corruption allegations pertaining to Mr Jindal, while having the Chief Whip of her party continuing to serve in that position while on a million-dollar bail on corruption charges, as well as other members of her party facing the courts, is nauseating.

While spending millions to visit India as prime minister, nothing of substance came from it. However, what pains the Opposition is one visit to India by the current Prime Minister has attracted flocks of Indian businessmen hoping to invest in us as a people.

Forbes projections indicate that “India is poised to surpass Japan and Germany, positioning itself as the world’s third-largest economy by 2027”. With all this information, how can anyone believe the OWTU or the UNC should be the preferred solution in operating the refinery belonged to you, the people?

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“A couple days ago I read a very interesting article by The University of The West Indies Professor of Economics Dr Roger Hosein. Dr Hosein was quoted as saying, “As…”

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