“Petrotrin is a lot bigger problem than the public would believe. There are certain aspects of the company that may never become viable, and trying to change what obtains within, will be a very fragile exercise”.

“Inter-alia, those are some of the words used by Chairman Wilfred Espinet recently. And there’s lots more! He also said the biggest destructive element Petrotrin faced over the years, was interference…interference from its Directors and worse, politicians.

Undoubtedly, all stakeholders will have to be part of making the company competitive and therefore successful. Espinet spoke of this when he addressed the Cova-Point Lisas chamber of commerce and its gathered associates at a breakfast seminar last week. He lamented the fact that successive governments had plunged the company into an identity crisis. That is, the company was left ultimately not knowing that it is supposed to make money, if not a profit. People associated with Petrotrin believe that it exists to carry out government policy and to provide jobs. Espinet advised that even if you’re running a religion, you cannot spend more than you earn.

Its not difficult to appreciate what the Chairman is saying. For months now we’ve heard all the stories of grossly overpaid workers and unnecessary senior management, large, unproductive capital expenditure, wastage at levels inconceivable by the average person, billions of dollars in debt, and of course, the corruption and fraud, par for the course in most State enterprises.

Early in his chairmanship, Espinet spoke of at best, making the company break even. That still is a tall order. More recently, he is saying they’re trying to design a purpose-built organisation that will be structured around the company’s activities.. These activities do not include earning foreign exchange, since Petrotrin is a net importer of crude oil.

When we exhale the stench, we are stronger in our already stated belief that Petrotrin should be closed. In fact, we know it will be. Maybe not in two, nor in five or ten years, but it WILL be shut down. We also suspect its current Board of seemingly wise men, know what we’re saying is true.

Last week, a journalist obviously irritated Chairman Espinet by a particular line of questioning. Perhaps a little, or a lot more rattling, may spill a truth born of frustration.

Meanwhile, Espinet’s additional words ring loudly, a sad, hollow refrain: “Petrotrin is a microcosm of Trinidad and Tobago Society”

Web Master

May 14th, 2018

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