While candidates for the Pointe-a-Pierre constituency David Abdulah and Dr David Lee are both campaigning on the promise of reopening the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery, the latter says the facility will be State-run under a United National Congress government. Lee’s statement suggests that the current acquisition process currently taking place between the Government and Patriotic Energies and Technologies Co Ltd will cease if they are voted into power. “It’s going to be a State-run refinery. We are going to bring it back to the people of Trinidad & Tobago. We are not going to allow the private sector, without State input and without government input to have a say because that is the fuel security of our country and we are not going to give that away,” Lee said.Meanwhile, Abdulah, during a walkabout in Lodge Road, Claxton Bay, called on the Government to sign over the refinery to Patriotic, a company incorporated by the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU).
Lee, however, said the UNC would block any attempt by the Government to sign over the refinery.”I want to tell the people, Prime Minister Rowley cannot and should not sign anything as election bell has rung. We will watch him and stop him if he tries to sign away the lifeline and the blood of our country, which is the Petrotrin refinery.”As Lee campaigned along Union Road, Marabella, he was confident of regaining the Point-a-Pierre seat. He said that over the last three years, the People’s National Movement (PNM) destroyed the constituency. He said the PNM’s shutdown of the refinery and oversight of several plant closures in Point Lisas crippled the energy industry and led to job loss. He said once the UNC returns to government, they will reopen the refinery, providing the jobs that constituents are crying to get.”Roget will do what Roget will do. We are not about Roget. We are about bringing back the life in this country that the PNM destroyed over the last five years.”Last week, Abdulah said that he marched and struggled with Petrotrin workers in a bid to stop the shutdown of the company and questioned where Lee and PNM’s candidate Daniel Dookie were at that time.However, Lee returned the punch, saying that Abdulah did nothing to stop Petrotrin’s closure.
As Abdulah met residents in a low-income part of the constituency, he committed to providing jobs and infrastructure once elected. But in the meantime, he is insisting that the Government complete the refinery acquisition with Patriotic. He said refinery closure caused joblessness and a fall in business in the constituency.While he said it was the PNM that closed the refinery and abandoned the workers, it followed years of political interference by successive governments, including the UNC. He described UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s campaign promise to reopen the refinery as “old talk and hot air.”