PM’s comments will deter investors —Persad-Bissessar

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has described comments by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at Wednesday’s Energy Conference as a “show” in an attempt to give citizens the impression the Government was working. She also accused Rowley of using the wrong tone to multi-national companies, which could result in such entities leaving T&T.

She was commenting on Rowley’s statement that it was time for the contracts of multi-nationals in the energy sector to be re-opened and re-negotiated, so that citizens can reap the rewards from energy revenues.

Rowley’s statement came after stakeholders and commentators had called for the arrangements within the Supplemental Petroleum Tax to be changed, because multi-nationals in the energy sector were no longer enjoying revenue from an oil price of more than US$100 per barrel.

But in a release yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said the PM’s comments fell short of expectations and demonstrated “just how out of touch” Rowley was with the country’s current economic reality.

“It appears that apart from being another public relations exercise, the event was aimed at ‘bouffing’ multi-national companies in the energy sector. The tone of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s speech and his statements about multi-national companies will likely cause uncertainty in the energy sector, and further discourage and deter investment,” she said.

“Following that tirade, I wouldn’t be surprised if these multi-national companies seek to do business elsewhere, in friendly, more stable environments.”

Persad-Bissessar said Rowley also seemed to have moved on from blaming the Opposition to blaming the largest investors, proving that “he will lash out anyone to cover his own incompetence.”

She said incentives offered by the former People’s Partnership administration had a positive impact on the energy sector.

“Having no ideas, vision or plan for the development of the energy sector, or for the diversification of our economy, Dr Rowley continues his attempts at misleading the public, and maligning the good work of the former People’s Partnership government. The Prime Minister failed to address what measures would be put in place to generate revenue, create sustainable jobs and revitalise sectors to drive economic growth,” Persad-Bissessar added.

She urged the Government to focus on stabilising the economy and working on fixing the issues facing the country, rather than in engaging in yet another unnecessary, expensive talk shop.