Trinidad and Tobago: In what could turn out to be a major scandal for the government of Trinidad and Tobago led by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and State-Owned NGC (National Gas Company) is surrounded by controversy over $440 million ill-fated attempt to save Atlantic LNG Train 1.
“At the start of 2021, this government could not identify a single source of gas to keep this plant operating, in addition to which the majority stakeholders BPTT and SHELL told the government in writing they had no gas and will not be participating in the so-called turnaround,” said Leader of Opposition, Kamla Persad Bissessar during a virtual statement.
What the government opted to do was place the burden on NGC who was already facing issues with supplying gas to other down streamers in Point Lisas.
From 2019 the government and NGC were fully aware that there would be no gas from BP for train one. But they still were giving out hundreds of millions of dollars to contractors.
“It is shameful and disingenuous that despite failing to identify a single source of gas that could keep Atlantic Train one going, the Board of NGC opted to invest 440 million TTD in a turnaround of Train one. Tonight, I pose the questions to the Minister of Energy, Chairman and President of NGC:
- Why did you waste taxpayers’ money knowing that there wasn’t a gas supply to keep Atlantic Train one going?
- What analysis and future supply of gas did the board base these 400 million investments on?
- Who are the recipients of these funds? None of those projects listed by the Minister of Energy can supply immediate gas, so did the board base this investment on a flawed gas supply?
- What economic model did you base this investment on and what has been the benefit of this investment to the people of this nation?
“It is clear that the board is seeking indemnity because they knew clearly that this investment was a callous waste of taxpayers’ money, but they did it anyways,” Kamla lambasted government.
“Normally, once we had the facts, we would be able to sue them for such negligence. That is why they are asking for protection. Tonight, I ask the Government, is it the Cabinet, a cabinet minister, or the Prime Minister who instructed the Board to make this baseless wasteful decision, because they were playing politics to avoid the embarrassment of yet another plant closing down?” She added.
She further accused that the mere fact that the Minister of Finance has granted some form of indemnity is proof that not only was there wrongdoing but that there was Cabinet involvement.
“It is obscene that the Board of NGC are more concerned with protecting themselves than protecting taxpayers’ money, our money. Tonight, I call for the resignation of the entire board and President. And no indemnity must be granted! You cannot waste taxpayers’ money and get away with it. This entire band of thieves must be stopped”