Submissions of evidence end in OWTU vs Petrotrin matter

The submission of evidence in the Oil­field’s Work­ers Trade Union’s in­dus­tri­al re­la­tions of­fence com­plaint against Petrotrin came to a close this morning.

The cross-examination of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance Vishnu Dhanpaul concluded with senior counsel Douglas Mendes, who is representing the OWTU, attempting to ascertain just when a government guarantee for an outstanding loan of USD $850m was granted to Petrotrin.

Mendes argued that based on the documents presented by the Permanent Secretary, the guarantee would have been given before October 8th prior to Petrotrin's injunction to stop the closure of the company. 

However, Dhanpaul explained that while the need for the guarantee was explained over the span of a year in documents dated October 2017, July 2018 and September 2018 respectively it was granted sometime between the 9th and the 15th of October.

Dhanpaul once again reiterated the financial status was a concern to international credit rating agencies as well as investors.

He explained the cabinet had discussed the need for the $100m government guarantee and eventually agreed to grant it during that time frame. 

Dhanpaul said the restructured Petrotrin, which is to be made up of one holding company and four separate entities, was projected to head towards financial solvency within three years.

Dhanpaul was then briefly re-examined by attorneys representing the state.

The matter will resume at 1:15 pm with attorneys for both the OWTU and the Attorney General expected to make legal submissions in relation to the matter.

 - by Peter Christopher 

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