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Oil, money and what matters

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Petrotrin’s decision to terminate the contract of A&V drilling following the discrepancies in production cited by its audit committee, better be the right decision. If it isn’t we the taxpayers will end up footing a billion-dollar bill for damages. Wilfred Espinet knows this. As chairman, he is walking a tightrope, trying to stop the haemorrhaging at the beleaguered state enterprise, showing that he has a firm grasp of this matter while demonstrating that he is capable of making the right decisions to protect the tax paying public.

Petrotrin has indicated they acted only after “careful consideration” yet the attorney for A&V Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, a former AG, says there is no legal or factual basis for termination, that Petrotrin has breached contract, not acted in good faith, and that the contents of the Kroll and Gaffney Cline reports—on which the Petrotrin decision was based—were never handed over for scrutiny. Petrotrin is also being “guided by expert counsel” insisting that its actions are in accordance with proper procedure. Flip the script again, and A&V says it is still waiting on $70 million which it is owed.

There are major interests, friendships, stakeholders and legal heavyweights factoring in on both sides of this matter. Like all things legal, this is heading to court. In the end, let’s hope justice is served, that taxpayers’ dollars aren’t wasted and that we don’t end up paying billions of real dollars for this “fake oil” scandal.

Presidents and power

The President of this country wields more power than many think. The role is more than ceremonial, not just about hosting fetes, ordering wine and defending housing allowances, work and wisdom are both required. Presidents don’t just make high-profile appointments, they also have the power to determine matters of serious consequence. The seat, when occupied by someone with political and or legal experience, is in fact one of power.

Retired justice Rolston Nelson is the candidate being proffered by the PNM. Nelson’s most recent high-profile issue was determining the merit of allegations of sexual harassment at Angostura. In a controversial move, he pronounced on the matter without hearing evidence from either party. If indeed Nelson is on his way to President’s house given the PNMs majority, perhaps clarification is needed on why he determined this prominent matter the way he did, for the simple reason that the country deserves to know his process of reasoning. The President, after all, isn’t a representative of a political party, he is Head of State.

‘Tis the season

The Christmas narrative is a celebration of hope, new beginnings and the possibility of miracles. It’s Christmas Eve today and many of us are caught up in the flurry of last-minute activity. Guardian Media takes this opportunity to wish all our readers a safe, joyous Christmas Eve and a hopeful New Year.


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