Demise of Refining – The Legacy of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley

I left the oil Industry in 1989 because I was impatient with the wait for the VSEP money which was rumoured to be on the way.  Since then, citizens of Trinidad and Tobago knew that Trintoc/Petrotrin needed dramatic restructuring, but our politicians continued to use the company as a reward centre for party faithfuls while organizational decay took root.

Petrotrin’s arrow to the heart occurred under the watch of the PNM with the failed gas to liquids deal. The principle of collective responsibility requires that the current Prime Minister and Minister of Finance take full responsibility and admit that they were part of that decision making.  They were part of the government of the day. Maybe this bold move by Prime Minister Rowley is such an admission and an attempt to redeem himself and the PNM. But this decision in his 35th month in office is problematic.  Does he have the time to recover from the fall out? 1,700 families will wake up with a cheque in hand, but little else.  Several other families of contractors, small businesses and suppliers will soon after realize the dagger to their hearts.  The “Wetman” and John Public will be asking … so how am I getting gas for my TIDA? The legacy voters of the PNM will be waiting to be told what the next move will be.  The Prime Minister is relying on the PNM faithful to help him ride this tumultuous wave.

Over the past 20 years, we have seen alternative administrations dismantle the decisions of their predecessors to the detriment of the country.  You and I, our children and our grandchildren will all have had to pay the price for the arrogance and lack of collaboration of these people. Not one Prime Minister over the past 20 years has demonstrated the ability to act in the national interest by doing whatever was necessary to collaborate on these huge decisions.  Prime Minister Rowley could have used this opportunity to “Collaborate With the Enemy” (the title of a book by Adam Kahane – ) with a vision of Trinidad and Tobago in 50+ years.  This issue is bigger than crime and money laundering because of its economic, social and political impact.  My memory of it will be how my generation failed after a 75-year experiment with the refining industry.

The founder of the PNM, the late Dr. Eric Williams sold me the concept of taking charge of the commanding heights of the economy.  His successor is now systematically dismantling every vestige of those commanding heights.

For more than two years, I have been writing about the need for accountability, transparency and collaboration and how it can potentially impact us positively.  This is another lost opportunity for true collaboration in order to change the conversation. Instead what prevails is the “winner take all” strategy and dominance of the patriarchy.

So far, your legacy, Mr. Prime Minister, is to dismantle the vision of our first Prime Minister.

I suppose, when you return to Mason Hall and the 3 golf courses, you will feel proud that it was not “From Mason Hall to White Hall” but From Mason Hall to Mason Hall!

Angostura turns their back on women instead of leading the industry

Dr. Rolph Balgobin resigned as Chairman; the alleged victim of sexual harassment was fired; Terrence Bharath was installed as Chairman at Angostura Holdings Limited.Terrence Bharath, Chairman Angostura

That is how history will record the sordid events related to sexual harassment at Angostura Limited during the two year period 2016/18. Meanwhile, as one woman lives with the painful memory of resisting sexual advances by her boss, the women on the factory floor at Angostura Holdings Limited maintain a quiet composure.

On July 02, 2018 I wrote to to the new chairman and suggested that he should engage a transparent, independent and thorough investigation of the charges of sexual harassment in order to provide closure for the more that 200 female workers employed at Angostura. I further suggested that such an investigation would demonstrate his commitment to ensuring that Angostura Holdings Limited retains a sound reputation amongst 50% of its customers and to a process of procedural fairness at all levels of the organization.

The goodly chairman responded to me indicating that since neither persons were “with” the company, Angostura no longer has any legal authority to pursue the matter and dismissed my concerns with the terse statement:

“In any event, this matter has engaged the attention of the Company, its Attorneys and Board, for a sufficiently long period and the matter is now considered closed”.

As one of the country’s leading companies, it would be unfortunate for Angostura to dismiss the issue of sexual harassment without ensuring the implementation of a sexual harassment policy. As an indirect shareholder, I need to be advised about when the policy was implemented and whether there was sensitivity/awareness training accompanying its implementation. The underlying issue is: can Angostura provide the assurance that there is a clear process for any employee to bring a claim of sexual harassment to the management and that it would be dealt with openly and transparently?

Once this issue remains unresolved it casts a shadow on the safety of the work environment especially for the 200+ women employed at Angostura Holdings Limited. I am acutely aware that when the rights of one woman are trampled, the collective rights of women are in jeopardy. Angostura must demonstrate leadership on this issue and do the right thing. Sexual harassment in the workplace impacts the safe working conditions and cannot be dismissed or back-burnered.

Ltr to DDemming 17July2018 SIGNEDBharath July 25

The Captain vs the Major General

Is it no surprise that Minister Dillon has been removed?  The Prime Minister has chosen to sacrifice one of the persons who brought home his political victory in preference for an opposition player.  PM Rowley is either a masterful collaborator or the rocks he studies have gone to his head. Here are some excerpts from a Gary Griffith Press Release carried on TV6 on June 17, 2016 :

  1. The recent confirmation that the Armoured Personal Carriers have been scrapped by Minister Dillon, again emphasizes that he continues to play politics with National Security, with his sole function being to scrap, disband and dismantle everything that was of value in National Security, just because it was established by the previous Administration, regardless if it was instrumental in reducing crime or based on the direct request by the Protective Services.
  2. This illogical decision goes in line with his previous unfounded comment that our country is not at risk to terrorist activities, and had to be immediately contradicted by the Prime Minister, and rightfully so.
  3. Minister Dillon has not established one policy, but instead his sole actions have been to only shut down, dismantle or cancel every asset pleaded for by the Protective Services.
  4. This latest chapter of Minister Dillon’s agenda “ of shut down and dismantle”, rips into the heart of showing blatant disregard and disrespect for our Protective Services, as it was they who strongly recommended that APCs be acquired, as they are being asked to go into volatile areas, where semi-automatic weapons with high caliber rounds can rip into any regular vehicle and easily kill our Police Officers and soldiers in a second, but Minister Dillon has the audacity to say that these vehicles would not be appropriate, so he is right and every other country that has been using this to protect their troops and our own Army are all wrong.

These are harsh criticisms and a bitter pill for Retired Major General Edmund Dillon to swallow especially since it is being administered by a mere captain.


Within the first week of his appointment as Commissioner of Police, I am concerned; primarily because of the kind of power he now has, and there is very little in his past which assures me that the management side of the task is really being considered.  The new CoP has already signalled that he has “78 policies” ready for implementation. That’s commendable but one must remember Peter Drucker who said: “culture eats strategy for breakfast”.  Why is that statement important? You can have policies till it oozes out with your sweat, but unless the new CoP is able to engage the hearts and minds of the people he is leading, nothing will change.  His leadership style so far has not been seen as collaborative.  His army training is based on compliance and I have experienced the arrogance of his power plays.  Unless he is an absolutely “transformed” Gary, the “cockroaches” both within the TTPS and on the streets will eat his strategies for breakfast. Dr. Rowley courted the highest levels of the military and the police to be on his election slate.  He chose Brig. Gen. Ancil Antoine, Retired Major General Edmund Dillon and retired Assistant Commissioner of Police Glenda Jennings-Smith and he already had former police/lawyer and experienced MP, Fitzgerald Hinds.  Their collective experience with law enforcement and the military is more than 100 years. Despite this fire power, crime continues unabated. The fact that these four experienced persons made no headway is instructive.  Either they don’t know how to collaborate, or they don’t know how to manage, or both, or something else.  But for our country’s sake the Captain must outperform the Major General.