On the eve of Trinidad and Tobago’s government signing agreements with Shell and a number of other oil companies, former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has lashed out against her successor Dr Keith Rowley accusing him and his government of incompetence in energy affairs.
Dr Rowley this week is due to lead a delegation of government ministers and technical personal on a ten-day overseas visit during which agreements are expected to be signed with Shell, BHP and EOG Resources, among others.
The former PM, now Opposition Leader, said in a Facebook post on Monday that the Rowley government allowed itself to be outsmarted in negotiations with energy companies and that the planned meetings hold little promise for advancement of the energy sector.
“Keith Rowley’s upcoming scheduled meetings with global energy companies are nothing more than attempts for him to save face after being humiliated and outmaneuvered by them in negotiations,” she said. “These meetings are not geared towards expanding our relationship and operations with these companies but are rather geared towards reclaiming lost ground and trying to regain favour with these firms, as a result of his government’s incompetence,” said Persad-Bissessar.
She said that proper diplomacy, economic incentives and statesmanship need to be employed to move things forward with deals that benefit the people of the Caribbean island republic.
“Given the arrogant and irresponsible treatment by the Rowley-led administration toward these energy companies in the past four years, Prime Minister Rowley would have little if any negotiating power. Outmaneuvered, out negotiated and humiliated, the Prime Minister is likely to agree to deals which may not be in the best interest of our country in order for him to save face,” she said.
Referring to the visit as a public relations gimmick, she said the PM is covering up the damage done to the energy sector.
“It is clear that under Keith Rowley, Trinidad and Tobago has lost its status and respect on the world stage. While the former People’s Partnership administration was able to attract significant levels of Foreign Direct Investment, strengthen foreign partnerships and the gain the respect of foreign leaders due to vision and leadership, the Rowley administration is incapable of even keeping the investments that we currently hold,” she said.