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posted 3 Sept 2012, 21:10 by Gerry Kangalee

The National Workers Union (NWU) congratulates the workers of Petrotrin, members of the Oilfields’ Workers Trade Union, for launching the first serious mass resistance to the perverse privatisation (outsourcing) policy of the People’s Partnership government.

Not surprisingly, Petrotrin workers have stood up and said a resounding no to the entry of the US firm Florida-based International Bunkers into the bunkering industry in which Petrotrin, through its ancestor companies, has had decades of experience.

On the surface it seems nonsensical for the government to grant a license to International Bunkers to set up shop in T&T to supply Petrotrin-manufactured bunkering fuel when Petrotrin, a state enterprise, is already engaged and has ton loads of experience in doing the same thing.

But then this is T&T, a country where if something smells fishy you can bet your bottom dollar it is rotten. Governments in T&T do not see themselves as custodians of the people’s patrimony, but see the people’s patrimony as their private piggy bank to be used and abused for personal and family enrichment and as a source of private accumulation of capital. Outsourcing is a favourite mechanism for eating a food!

On August 16th 2012, Kevin Ramnarine, Minister of Energy, said at a post-cabinet media conference Cabinet agreed to issue a marketing licence for bunkering for Bunker’s Oil Trinidad & Tobago Ltd.

He said: “This will be a subsidiary of internationally renowned Bunkers’ International Corporation. This company will bunker vessels working for Oldendorff which is a German company which recently established a transshipment business in T&T.” He said Cabinet had agreed that fuel being purchased by the company must be purchased from state owned Petrotrin.

It is also a source of consternation that Oldendorff Carriers a German ship owner, one of the world’s leading dry bulk operators recently signed a ten year licensing agreement with the T&T Free Zone Company Ltd to set up a transshipment operation based in the Gulf of Paria, about 6 miles off Point Lisas. This means that the company is exempt from paying custom duties on capital goods, parts and raw materials and will pay no import and export duties and associated taxes or licensing requirements.

The National Workers Union urges the government to pay heed to the Petrotrin workers demands and withdraw its license, if already issued, to International Bunkering.

The National Workers Union calls upon the decent citizens of T&T to condemn the government’s privatisation policy and to actively oppose it and put pressure on the government to abandon it.

The National Workers Union urges workers and citizens to join the demonstration organised by the Joint Trade Union Movement on Friday 7th September 2012 to show their rejection of the PP government’s perverse privatisation policy.

Gerry Kangalee (National Education and Research Officer – Cell: 785-7637)
Gerry Kangalee,
3 Sept 2012, 21:10