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posted 8 Feb 2012, 21:03 by Gerry Kangalee


The National Workers Union (NWU) calls on the trade union movement, the working class and all patriots to support the struggle of the oil workers and their union, the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU), against the privatisation of Trinmar and the government’s intention to divest some or all of the Pointe-A-Pierre refinery to foreign interests.

The government wants to slice up Trinmar’s operations and hand them over to the lease out and farm out operators who operate under the cloak of the Energy Chamber (formerly South Trinidad Chamber of Commerce). Some of these operations will be handed over to so-called joint ventures with foreign energy corporations.

It is useful to recall that the Minister of Energy was an employee of the Energy Chamber for several years and seems to be seeking the interests of this parasitic clique.

This struggle against privatisation is not just a struggle of oil workers. Minister of Finance Winston Dookeran has already announced that privatisation is government policy and, that PLIPDECO, TTMF and First Citizens’ Bank are to be privatised.

In a release dated 19th January 2012, the National Workers’ Union warned the country that:

“In his speech on Public Private Partnership at the Hyatt on Tuesday November 1st, 2011 the Minister of Finance spoke of privatising public utilities, ports, airports, health care provision and pensions. PLIPDECO has been identified for divestment and according to Dookeran, a further seven enterprises are to be privatised. This is in addition to First Citizens Bank. There is a widespread belief that Petrotrin is also to be divested, in part.”

WASA has signed a contract with Aquagest Solutions (a subsidiary of Agbar), a Spanish transnational. According to WASA this company “will conduct...audits, review the organisation’s processes and analyse selected business models to determine the best model for the organisation,”

The government’s policy to privatise public utilities is underway and WASA’s obscene, frantic drive to collect arrears at the risk of disconnection is clearly a ploy to clean up the books to make it more attractive to a foreign predator.

The mad scramble of the PP government to transform publicly-owned enterprises into a hog trough for its friends and financiers was evident in Minister Gopeesingh’s bid to privatise MTS. The public health sector has already been infiltrated by private capital and much of its functions are being contracted out.

This policy of giving away the people’s patrimony is based on the advice given by the IMF in its last Article IV consultation to invite private sector participation in the state sector, and accelerate privatisation, with assistance from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank.

The National Workers Union warns that privatisation leads to increased foreign control of the economy and results in widespread retrenchment and calls on the trade union movement to launch a broad-based movement against the government’s privatisation thrust.

The first step toward launching such a movement should be the convening of an all-union Conference of Shop Stewards and Branch Officers (COSSABO) to discuss the implications of the government’s privatisation thrust and to make recommendations on how to beat back and defeat that policy.

- END –


Gerry Kangalee (National Education and Research Officer – Cell: 785-7637

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Gerry Kangalee,
8 Feb 2012, 21:04