Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is questioning the decision to withdraw the multi-million-dollar lawsuit against former Petrotrin executive chairman Malcolm Jones after the Privy Council said the decision "may have been influenced by political factors."
Speaking at a UNC Monday Night Forum at North Eastern College, Sangre Grande, Persad-Bissessar asked, "Was it just a case of 'friend'?"
She noted that at the time Jones' lawyer was Stuart Young, now National Security Minister . In addition, the lawyer who advised Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi on dropping the lawsuitwas Vincent Nelson, the State's main witness in the case against former attorney general Anand Ramlogan and former UNC senator Gerald Ramdeen in connection with a series of financial transactions and alleged rewards involving legal fees paid to him for representation in state briefs.
She said it was because of this decision that the people of TT now had to repay a debt of $11 billion for three projects that went belly-up, including the gas-to-liquid project and the ultra low-sulphur-diesel project. She said Jones signed off on the loan with a guarantee that Petrotrin would repay it.
Persad-Bissessar said the decision to sell off Petrotrin was not prudent. She urged Government not to get rid of Petrotrin and promised the crowd at the meeting that "when the UNC gets back into power, we will find a way to save the refinery."
She said Jones was put on a Cabinet sub-committee on energy, a move she described as "putting the cat to watch the butter.
"They are telling us everything is well, but they are living in a fantasy world. They say they are going to build 6,000 houses in fiscal 2020. My good Lord. In four years they didn't build one house – they going to build 6,000 houses? Election chain-up.
"They are a government of announcements. They are saying they are going to build a port in Toco, but if any port is to be built in Toco it will be done under a UNC government. Rowley was the one who shut down the UNC plan for a port in Toco."
Persad-Bissessar said the PNM has spent $200 billion in the four years it has been in office, but there was not a single completed project to show for it.
She said Government was telling the people to pray for rain and oil, but the country needed more than that.
"I believe in divine prayer, but what this country needs now is for them to call an election now."