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Economist Wendell Motley quits Trinidad & Tobago Energy Task Force




By Curtis Williams

Petroleumworld 05 29 2018

Wendell Mottley has resigned as chairman of Government's Energy Task Force, saying he can no longer lead in negotiations for both the Sandals project and the renegotiation of new LNG contracts with the multinational oil and gas companies.

Mottley confirmed to the T&T Guardian that he has quit and said while he is prepared to help where he can, he was no longer able to commit himself to helping the Government on a daily basis.

He said, “I'm out! I will be prepared to help where I can but I am not prepared to be bog downed in this kind of way. One thing Athletics teaches you very early on in life is that we all have a shelf life.”

Mottley's departure will be a big loss for the Rowley administration as he was Head of the Government's Natural Gas Task Force, part of its high level team to renegotiate LNG contracts with the multi-national companies and also served as an adviser to the Minister of Energy Frankly Khan.

Mottley was also a key part of the Government's team which is in negotiation with the construction of a 700 room Sandals and Beaches property in Tobago.

Asked why he decided to go at this time, Mottley said it was about his age. “The reason is frankly July 2, 1941.” This is the date of his birth which means in just over a month Mottley will be 77 years old.

However, multiple sources told the T&T Guardian that he was frustrated with the pace of things at the Ministry of Energy but the former finance minister said his leaving had nothing to do with that.

“There are some very bright young people there and the ministry has been reorganised. I think the staffing is coming up to par again.” Mottley said in an interview yesterday afternoon.

Mottley is considered one of the country's most successful Finance Ministers and was responsible for several key decisions including the floating of the TT dollar, the merger of the banks to form First Citizens and was a part of the Cabinet that brought a consortium together to build Atlantic LNG.

Asked what he considered his greatest achievement in public life Motley said, “The management of those difficult times in the 1990s where Trinidad was coming out of a deep recession. Selby Wilson and the NAR did a good job, we picked up the baton seamlessly and did what was necessary for Trinidad and Tobago in that first Manning administration.”

He was, however, reluctant to talk about Finance Minister Colm Imbert's handling of the economy and was more prepared to talk about Barbados economic challenges.

“I see my relative Mia Mottley in Barbados, I was there on the night of the election, and they have an even deeper hole to dig out, but I am very impressed with Barbadian resoluteness. I am very optimistic that they have bottomed out and will start to climb back out,” Mottley said.

Asked if he would be giving Barbados Prime Minister advice Mottley responded, “That may be presumptuous on my part, she is well advised.”

Asked if she had enlisted his help, the former finance minister said, “I have known Mia donkey's years and I …I don't want to get into that.”

The former finance minister said he planned to continue reading and will stay in touch with public affairs. “I do plan to travel a lot,” he said.

Mottley is a former double Olympic medallist who has an undergraduate degree from Yale University and a Masters in Economics from Cambridge University.

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Story by Curtis Williams from TT Guardian
05 28 2018

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