An inter-ministerial team was appointed by Cabinet on Wednesday to deal with non-core assets of Petrotrin—ranging from houses to land.

The six-member team has been mandated to deal with the maintenance, management and disposal of Petrotrin’s non-core assets.

Government had retained the company’s non-core assets after it was agreed the refinery would be sold to Patriotic Energies and Technologies Ltd.

The team comprises Ministers Franklin Khan (Energy), Pennelope Beckles (Housing), Stephen Mc Clashie (Labour), Kazim Hosein (Local Government/Rural Development), Randall Mitchell (Tourism/Culture) and Allyson West (Public Administration/Digital Transformation.)

The composition of the team—and certain ministries involved—has sparked speculation that Petrotrin properties may be turned over to the Housing and Tourism and Culture ministries.

Petrotrin has a range of non-core assets from lands and houses in parts of South Trinidad to the Point-a-Pierre Sports Club, school and other facilities. Several families were evicted this week from Petrotrin Point Fortin houses where they’d been living illegally. (See page 8)

Several buildings—including houses—on the Point-a-Pierre refinery site have also been vandalised.

When Petrotrin first closed for restructuring, there were indications that Government might consider leasing out the sports club to members and other property assets as well.

Petrotrin’s Augustus Long Hospital was initially earmarked to be offered for lease/sale but this was shelved when the COVID-19 virus hit and is was used to treat patients.

In April 2019, Finance Minister Colm Imbert had indicated a decision by June 2019 on allowing Petrotrin non-oil production assets for public use.

Then, he said Petrotrin’s board was looking at commercially viable options for the use of the club and its facilities and Government was examining its options concerning utilisation in the public interest of Petrotrin assets that aren’t essential for oil production.

He added that Government recognised Petrotrin provided quite a large number of services to surrounding communities and also to people in surrounding areas, and was looking at vesting all non-oil producing assets into a state enterprise which would control these assets.

Decision on the non-core assets team came on the eve of today’s deadline for conclusion of the negotiations between Government and Patriotic Energies and Technologies Ltd for Petrotrin Guaracara refinery.

Patriotic stated yesterday that it had sent it its final proposal to Government for the way on Thursday, ahead of today’s deadline set by the Prime Minister for conclusion of negotiations. Government had said if the sale wasn’t concluded by today, other options would have to be sought for the refinery.