Wednesday 27 May, 2020

Ramdeen claims 5000 Petrotrin workers facing termination

Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen has accused the government of trying to mislead the public on the number of workers that would be affected by the closure of Petrotrin's Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.

Speaking during a media conference on Sunday, Ramdeen pointed out that the initial number of workers to be sent home, given by the government, was 1,700.

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However, he noted newspaper reports in which Petrotrin Chairman Wilfred Espinet said all 3,500 permanent workers in Petrotrin, not just the refinery, would be terminated.

But Ramdeen said the true number was over 5,000.

He said Petrotrin employs 5,322 workers, of which 3,841 are permanent and 1,481 are temporary.

He added that more than 100,000 families would be affected.

"It clearly demonstration that there is a deliberate attempt to mislead the people of this country and to somehow temper the effects of this decision...," he said.

Ramdeen described the issues surrounding Petrotrin as a "sad and depressing state of affairs".

He said the Opposition could not impact the decision of the government but the public has the power to do so.

"The Opposition's position is to bring together all the stakeholders who are going to be affected by this decision and make the public of Trinidad and Tobago understand that we cannot allow the country to lose Petrotrin as an asset.

"As has been demonstrated before, when the people of Trinidad and Tobago come together for a common cause against any administration, it is the people that have the power to influence the decision-making in the country. And if Dr Rowley thinks that he can make this decision that will affect over 100,000 families in this country by simply the snap of a finger, at his whim and fancy or at the drop of a hat, it is not going to happen."

Ramdeen called on the workers as well as the wider population to stand together against the closure of Petrotrin.

Speaking on the Galleons Passage, Opposition Senator Wade Mark questioned why the vessel has not yet made its maiden voyage on the inter-island seabridge, despite arriving in Trinidad two months ago.

The vessel had undergone two sea trials and experienced issues in berthing at the Scarborough Port.

The second sea trial on Saturday was said to have been successful.

However, Mark pointed out that the vessel has yet to make a trip carrying a full load of passengers and vehicles.


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