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Trinidad and Tobago

UNC activist to State: Come clean on Petrotrin/Malcolm Jones case

UNC activist Ravi Balgobin Maharaj, who won his appeal of a decision by Petrotrin to deny him two witness statements relied on by the now defunct oil company to withdraw a multi-million-dollar claim against its executive chairman Malcolm Jones, is calling on the Government to come clean on the matter.

In a statement after the Privy Council ruled in his favour in his claim against Petrotrin for refusing him the documents, Maharaj said he had nothing to gain by the journey for public justice.

But, he said he has been fighting to secure the disclosure of the witness statements to determine whether a political conspiracy involving powerful figures led to the abandonment of the million-dollar case, which, he said, could have saved the jobs of 5,000 Petrotrin employees.

“This is therefore a victory for the citizens of this country who have a right to know the truth about the political machinations that occur behind closed doors to their detriment.

“Make no mistake about it, the failed gas-to-liquids project that cost Petrotrin and our taxpayers billions of dollars is directly responsible for its present closure and the consequent economic hardship.

“Every Petrotrin employee has suffered a grave injustice and we must demand answers and stop playing games,” he said.

Maharaj also said the ruling now raised concerns regarding the advice given to Petrotrin by British Queen's Counsel Vincent Nelson, which led to the case against Jones being withdrawn.

Maharaj says the ruling has raised concern regarding Nelson's credibility and he wants to know how much was the attorney paid for his advice which led to the abandonment of the case, as well as whether the advice was a smokescreen to facilitate a predetermined agenda to abandon the case.

“After all, Mr Nelson initially advised then attorney general Anand Ramlogan to pursue the case, before suddenly changing his mind,” Maharaj said.

"Why did Mr. Nelson even bother to comment on the merits of the case when he was simply asked to advise on the limited issue of whether the arbitration witness statements could be disclosed in the High Court case against Mr. Jones?" Maharaj asked.

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