OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the Prime Minister must have known no new gas was to be found to supply Atlantic LNG Train One, yet for a while Dr Rowley had still told the population that gas talks were under way.
She addressed a UNC virtual meeting on Monday, after Rowley told reporters last Saturday at Piarco Airport. on his return from the COP26 in the UK. that the Government had kept breathing life into Train One. but now dry holes drilled by BP confirmed his view that: “We don’t have the gas for Train One.”
Recalling the PM having admitted Train One was near-dead by saying, “The doctor is putting on his coat,” she quipped, “The only coat that needs to be put on is for you, Rowley, to be put in a straitjacket and taken up to St Ann’s.”
Persad-Bissessar said previously Rowley had falsely said gas-supply talks were ongoing for Train One, while no such gas existed.
“Since 2019, BP told the Government in writing that there would be no gas for Train One in 2021.”
Shell had said something similar, she said.
She said the Government knew there was no gas before telling the National Gas Company (NGC) board to spend $440 million of taxpayers’ money on “a fake turnaround” of Train One.
On top of the $440 million spent by the NGC to try to save Atlantic LNG Train One, Persad-Bissessar lamented the $200 million NGC had wasted on a failed compressor project.
“This is beyond incompetent. This is criminal.”
She urged the NGC board all be fired and their legal indemnity taken away.
She said Rowley had not needed to go to England recently to learn there would be no gas for Train One this year.
“Rowley, if you wanted to go play golf with the BP executives, say so, but don’t make it sound as if you went seeking a solution for Train One, because BP repeatedly told you there was no gas.
“This NGC debacle was no mistake, it was an act of the Government trying to fool the population about Train One, while diverting funds to family, friends and financiers.”
Alleging “mismanagement, blunder and plunder,” Persad-Bissessar said those responsible must not be allowed any get-out-of-jail-free card.
She said the NGC was now a struggling company, unlike its prosperity previously under her administration.
Persad-Bissessar said for months the Opposition had asked for accountability on Train One, yet the PM had persistently said negotiations were at a sensitive stage when they clearly were not.
“It was all an attempt to cover up the pillaging of the NGC under the disguise of keeping Train One going.
“We need to find out where that money went. We need to recover it, and we need to find out the trail of corruption that allowed this massive squandermania to occur.”