Roget insists TT National Petroleum Marketing Company (NP) board should be fired
By Sascha Wilson / TT Guardian
Petroleumworld 10 14 2021
Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget is calling on the government to fire National Petroleum Marketing Company (NP) chairman Sahid Hosein.
This follows an internal NP email to a gas station dealer to increase the price of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG). Energy Minister Stuart Young, however, has since assured that there will be no increase and that communication was sent by an employee without authorisation.
But, this is not sitting well with Roget who, in a virtual press conference yesterday, also called for the Board's resignation.
Recalling that late energy minister Franklin Khan had tried to justify removing the LPG subsidy while both he and the current minister spoke about a liberalised market, he said, “We do not believe Minister Young when he said that he had no knowledge of that (the increase in LPG).”
He added that if Young knew, then Cabinet must have had knowledge as well. While the chairman is claiming it's one of the employees who issued the communication, Roget said according to the Board minutes a directive was given to increase the price of LPG.
“To spin the thing a lie has been told to the country. If you have a lie being told to the country by a board appointed by the Cabinet and Cabinet does nothing about it, it is the Cabinet that is endorsing the lie.” Saying it is dishonest to blame an employee, he said, “We are making two points here, one that the Cabinet and the government for yet another occasion, we have been vindicated, they have increased the price of LPG, cooking gas to the citizens.”
He questioned why the NP chairman has not called on the multinationals to pay more for diesel.
“Since in the 1980s they are paying ten cents per litre on the margin, so why doesn’t he increase the margin to allow those multi-national customers those E&P customers to pay more for diesel that will allow for NP to make more revenue so that it will allow for less burden on the population?”
Claiming that the chairman and board are being allowed to reign free without being held to account, he said, “If the Minister of Energy is true to his word and say he did not know anything he needs to reign in, he needs to deal immediately with this current chairman of NP. Otherwise, it is a given that they support the action it is just it got out the wrong way a little too quick. But, if you are true to your word Minister of Energy Stuart Little, if you are true to your word, you will fire immediately the chairman of the board of NP, the entire board should resign for that fiasco."
Claiming that the NP tank wagons are not regularly inspected to ensure they are roadworthy, he added, "You have more than 70 per cent of the haulage being given out to contractors and you have a mere 30 per cent and it is even lessening now being given to the NP workers. The same chairman does nothing about that, but you preside over an entity that revenue is a problem for you and how you attempt to increase that revenue you go out to the public to get the public to pay for your failing as a chairman and as a board of NP. We reject that approach outright."
Roget agrees with Kamla
Meanwhile, Roget agreed with Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar that the budget is a war on the people of T&T. Warning citizens to brace for an increase in food and fuel prices and electricity and water rates, he reiterated that the budget was a con.
“They know that the normal reaction of the citizens to the pain they are inflicting is for us to be on the streets, for us to be protesting that and that is why they would have extended the State of Emergency to pass a budget that would put pressure on the people but the people could hardly squeak. The people could hardly say anything. You could hardly be outside when they have their debate in Parliament. You could hardly raise a placard. You could hardly raise your voices so internationally people would know what this government is doing to you.”
On the issue of the VAT removal on certain food items, Roget said a significant number of people does not consume corn beef and pigtail for religious reasons.
“Be warned when you go to the grocery and you are faced with high prices, be warned when they come to you to impose the Property Tax and if you don’t full out that form they are going to penalize you, by having you pay some $5,000. You can't put food on the table for your family, you can hardly cope with the rising prices and increase living costs and so and now they are going to choke you if you don’t full out that form by the end of November by paying $5,000. How more wicked can those people get.”
Roget also questioned how the fuel card is going to benefit people who travel every day and not have to face increased fares. He also sees the removal of subsidies as an attack on the citizens. “So when they remove the subsidy because they have removed it and now prices will be tied according to the price of oils and we see where the price of oil is going. But our oil, our hydrocarbon, our gas cannot benefit us because we are not now enjoying the subsidy and we have to pay more.”
Roget warned citizens to brace for an increase in utility rates. "By removing the subsidies, the RIC (Regulated Industries Commission) will have no choice but to recommend an increase which recommendation they will want to hide behind when that time comes. Be warned citizens they are giving you the whole hog, no pun intended. You are getting the whole hog, increase electricity, increase water rate, property tax, increase fuel cost and all of those things will make for putting additional burden on you the citizens of TT.”
He also noted that the union had recommended to the minister prior to the budget that at this “difficult period for the country” there should be no increases in taxes and costs.