Another of the many People’s National Movement (PNM) scandals and failed projects have cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
It started under the Patrick Manning-led PNM Cabinet of which current prime minister Dr Keith Rowley was a senior member.
The Petrotrin Gas-to-Liquids project was the brainchild of the PNM appointed Malcolm Jones-led Board which to-date has cost the country over $3 billion. The project collapsed and the PNM then sold the remnants of this billion-dollar investment for pennies on the dollar to NiQuan Energy Trinidad Ltd, who many consider as “favoured PNM investors”.
Earlier this week, Dr Rowley was hailing NiQuan’s gas-to-liquid plant as a prime example of the successful development of the country’s export potential of higher value-added products, through the collaboration of the private sector, the banking sector and the government.
Didn’t prime minister Dr Rowley not feel any guilt that his party is responsible for this failed billion-dollar project by the country’s crown jewel Petrotrin?
This is the same Dr Rowley who, according to the Trinidad Guardian, “rubbished the opposition’s claim of a government deal with NiQuan.”
But then again, this is the same Dr Rowley who stood upon a PNM political platform and vehemently denied that the government was going to close down Petrotrin. Less than two weeks after his assurance that Petrotrin was not to be closed down, his government unceremoniously did just that.
This $3 billion bad business decision was another of the PNM’s failures and corrupted practices whereby due diligence and securing the best interests of Petrotrin were not followed. The then executive chairman Jones was accused of a breach of fiduciary duty and alleged mismanagement for the construction of the GTL plant and was sued by the Persad Bissessar-led administration.
One of the very first acts of the Dr Rowley-led administration in 2015 was attorney general Faris Al-Rawi’s very controversial decision to withdraw a US$97 million lawsuit against Jones.
This country’s highest court – the Privy Council subsequently ruled that there may have been a basis to support claims that there was political interference in Al-Rawi’s decision. And now, with the economy in free fall, with Petrotrin unceremoniously closed down by his government, Dr Rowley is proud to call the opening of NiQuan’s Plant “a triumph.”
A triumph for who? Definitely not the taxpayers!