Wednesday 30 September, 2020

Standing ovation for Dr Rowley in Siparia

Some of the attendees at a PNM meeting in Siparia stood and clapped when Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley talked of the gains made by the Heritage Petroleum Company.

Dr Rowley was speaking at a PNM meeting on Thursday night in the run-up to the December 2 local government election.

Dr Rowley said contrary to some comments, his administration is not against the Labour unions, speaking about the closure of the Petrotrin refinery.

“They portray us as being anti-Labour. When Labour is doing nonsense we’ll tell them so. When Labour is on the right track we’ll tell them so.”

“It is Section 34 that brought the PNM and labour in close meetings. I told the OWTU don’t bother to threaten me, you have a space in the boardroom, talk to us. It is in everybody’s interest in this country that they succeed in what they are engaged in,” he said.

Dr Rowley said government will do everything they can to help them succeed if they are serious.

Dr Rowley said since the creation of the Heritage Petroleum Company, the company has made a profit of over $500 million.

“We just heard from the Minister of Energy (Franklin Khan) that in nine months the company has made a profit of over $500 million. We’ve moved this situation from a guaranteed loss of two billion dollars if the refinery was still operating to the new situation where Heritage is now in the column of profit.

“Ladies and gentlemen that calls for a standing ovation,” he said, to which some members in the crowd stood and clapped. 

Dr Rowley thanked those who helped to bring this about and said government was able to get the job done. 

In September 2019 it was announced that OWTU owned company, Patriotic Energies and Technologies Co Ltd, won the bid to purchase the Guaracara Refining Company Limited and Paria Fuel Trading Company Limited with a US$700 million offer. 

Patriotic's proposal indicated upfront cash of US$700 million for the refinery assets plus US$300 million for the non-core assets of legacy PETROTRIN, including the Augustus Long hospital. However, the non-core assets were not offered for sale by Government.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert said in a Parliament statement that Patriotic would be granted a three-year moratorium on all payments of principal and interest, towards the purchase of the refinery and a further 10 years, at a fair market interest rate, to complete the payment of the sum of US$700 million it has offered for the refinery.

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