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Trinidad and Tobago, even though small in size, is a significant player on the global stage, especially in the natural gas and petrochemical sector. Over the past decades we moved imperceptibly from oil to gas.
However, we are still deeply connected and involved in the production, refining and marketing of oil, a business that has been struggling for quite some time. Such is our involvement in this business, that the liabilities of the state company threaten the credit rating and the very financial stability of the country as a whole.
I ask you to recall that in January 2017, in an address to the nation, I invited you to turn your attention to the troubling state of affairs at Petrotrin. At that time I alerted you to the complexity of the issues associated with the company, in particular, how it affected all of us, the citizens, especially from a financial point of view. As an example, the international rating agencies have considered the country’s sovereign rating status on the basis of the troubled financial status of the oil company and strongly warn of further downgrades if nothing significant is done to improve our position in this worsening exposure. I reminded you that there is a $US850 million bond (TT$6 billion) that is coming due for payment in the form of a single payment in August 2019 and another of almost US$700 million that would be due soon after.
It is with mixed feelings, one of sadness and of resolve that I return to this issue today, after months of review, analysis and consultations. As you are aware the future of Petrotrin has been the subject of much negative speculation for the past several months but inevitably we must come to the time of decision making as we are forced to abandon the procrastination and finger pointing which have only served to worsen the eventual outcome.
I appreciated the importance of the oil and gas sector to the well being of Trinidad and Tobago before becoming Prime Minister and that is why two of the first actions taken by the Cabinet soon after September 2015 were to appoint the Standing Committee of Energy, the sub-committee of Cabinet charged with the responsibility of deciding and directing policy in the oil and gas industry. We also appointed the boards of directors of both Petrotrin and the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC).
On Tuesday 28th August the board of directors of Petrotrin, after months of dedication and hard work, in analyses and consultations, met with its employees and their union representatives to announce plans for changes that would be implemented in the coming weeks and months to get the company on a path to sustainable profitability. These measures are expected to stop the taxpayers funding operations that are losing billions of dollars and to stop the haemorrhaging of much valued, and much demanded, foreign exchange, US dollars. The primary objective of the announced interventions is to transform the business of the company from chronic money losing to a return to profitability.
To some, these changes may appear drastic, but the situation at Petrotrin requires drastic action. It requires intervention now, in fact before now, but the country’s decision makers, whilst knowing the problem, shied away from the negative responses that were certain to accompany any corrective action. In short, the Petrotrin fix was always seen to be bad for politics and even one’s political survival but we have arrived at a place now where its ongoing failure threatens the national survival.
Such is my lot.
I humbly accept it as the embodiment of the oath of my office, to act “without fear or favour, without malice or ill will” to any person or group of persons. This Government does not have the luxury of not attending to this age old problem. Time is not on our side.
To those whose knee jerk reaction to this very real crisis is to threaten chaos, to burn down the country, to spew invectives, to demonize and toss insults, none of this assists in addressing the issue in any meaningful way. This PNM Government which was responsible for building this country knows that strength and compromise are not mutually exclusive.
I would also like to remind our people that we did not always have a refinery and a Petrotrin. We came to this place because a PNM government in an earlier time took equally far reaching steps to purchase and amalgamate the failing assets of the private sector in visionary leadership to bring about that which we are now called upon to salvage and reposition.
In presenting to you the new vision for Petrotrin it is important to describe the journey to this point.
The oil industry has and continues to be a major industry in Trinidad and Tobago. It had its early beginnings with the discovery of oil in La Brea in 1857. The discovery of oil created interest among a first wave of companies such as Apex (Trinidad) Oilfields Limited, United British Oilfields of Trinidad (UBOT) and Trinidad Leaseholds Limited (TLL). With production increasing to one million barrels per day a number of refineries, including the Point Fortin refinery in 1912 and in 1917 the Pointe-A-Pierre Refinery, were established.
As Trinidad and Tobago became established as a proven oil province, international oil companies Royal Dutch (Shell), Texaco, British Petroleum and later Tesoro began operations in the country. These IOCs were succeeded by state-owned Trinidad and Tobago Oil Company Ltd (TRINTOC) and Trinidad Petroleum Company Ltd (TRINTOPEC) which were merged into the Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (Petrotrin).
The oil industry in Trinidad and Tobago has a chequered past and has had to adapt to a series of domestic and global factors to ensure its survival. The industry has gone through periods of boom and bust. The initial early success in the 1920s profited from the then oil boom and led to development of new population centres in South Western Peninsula such as Hard Bargain, Retrench and Point Fortin. However, by the 1930s discoveries of large oilfields in the USA contributed to an oversupply situation and a global fall in oil prices. The combination of low oil prices and labour issues contributed to the decline of oil profitability in the domestic economy. The latter period 1940 to 1960 was a period of consolidation and saw the entry of the international oil companies Shell, Texaco and British Petroleum.
In the early 1900s there were several small refineries operating in Trinidad, including plants in Palo Seco; Santa Flora; Brighton, La Brea and Point Fortin. These were all closed over time as they became non-viable, either because of aging technology or supply and cost challenges. The Point Fortin refinery was the last to be shut down in 1990 to make way for Atlantic LNG as Trinidad and Tobago shifted its emphasis from oil to natural gas.
Following a period of growth, the industry was beset by rising costs, competition from supplies of low cost crude from the Middle East and Africa and construction of new refineries in Europe and the United Kingdom. This led to a decline in production, prices, and the subsequent withdrawal, first by Shell, and then Tesoro and Texaco from the domestic energy sector.
Oil refining started in Point a Pierre in 1917 with a production of 1200 barrels per day (bpd) and by the 1980s Texaco, the owners of the refinery with a supply of oil from all over the world took production up to 355,000 bpd, much of it fuel oil which was in great demand in those days.
By 1984 this refining business was in trouble and losing money, facing closure by the international oil giant. It was against this background of uncertainty and even despair that on August 30th 1984, under Prime Minister George Chambers, the already antiquated and failing refinery was purchased for $189.2 million of which $98m was paid in cash and the balance paid in refined product over a ten-month period.
In March 1985, a few months after we bought the Texaco refinery, an article in the New York Times reported, “The Government agreed to buy the money-losing refinery, officials say, mainly to save more than 3000 jobs.”
It was against this background that our negotiating and advisory team which included Dodderidge Alleyne and Euric Bobb, two of our most distinguished sons of this nation, advised that the refinery throughput be immediately cut back to 120,000 bpd and it was noted even then that there was a need for refinery upgrade to reduce the high yield of fuel oil. Today with a refining capacity of 140,000 bpd the local production available for refining is 40,000 barrels. We really depend mostly on a daily importation of 100,000 bpd which we refine at a significant and constant loss. With the help of in-depth analyses by local and foreign expertise we have looked at a number of operational business models for the refinery operations and they all indicate that the refinery is and will continue to be an increasing money loser. In fact, the analyses show that the rest of the company, Exploration and Production, if operated properly and separated from the refinery it could be a good business which could produce handsome dividends to the shareholder, the taxpayers of Trinidad and Tobago. It is this advice that has finally been accepted by the Cabinet after about a year of intensive work.
Within hours of the last meeting with the board to sign off on the acceptance of this direction and on this decision to close the refinery and get out of the oil importation business, I as Prime Minister, requested a meeting with the majority trade union, the venerable OWTU. This meeting took place at the Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday 21st August, 2018. Tough as it was and emotive as the situation is, in the presence of a group of ministers and public servant and a seven-man executive group from the union, the Government outlined the whole scenario of the conclusion of the yearlong exercise and indicated to some surprise that in order to meaningfully restructure the company the refinery operations must cease.
There is no gainsaying the fact that we have benefited well from the Chambers government purchase in 1984 but we have been struggling with the refinery since then. In the meantime as our oil production fell consistently the cost of operations increased virtually uncontrollably and we basically operate a refining business which is largely dependent on foreign oil inputs. All the other refineries in the region which had this same business model, in Curacao, Aruba and St Croix, have long since closed because they saw it as not a viable business. In Trinidad and Tobago we soldiered on and took the opportunity to the furthest that we could carry it and that is where we are now.
Permit me a moment, this evening, to share with you, the stakeholders, the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, who are the owners of Petrotrin, why these changes are necessary now and how we got to the decisions that were announced last week.
The Petrotrin from TEXACO
Sadly, the new entity Petrotrin which was entrusted with the country’s proven oil reserves has failed to fully deliver on our expectations. There have been many instances and/or arrangements which can only be described as gross mismanagement of the national patrimony. Every project within the past few decades has been subject to massive cost overruns and lengthy delays.
The Gasoline Optimization Programme, which in 2005 was estimated at a cost of US$350 million (approx TT$2.450 billion), was completed in 2013 at a cost of US$1.8b (approx TT$12.6b).
Its Gas to Liquid Project, which originally estimated at a cost of US$165m (approx TT$1.155b), was abandoned after Petrotrin had incurred in excess of US$450m (approx TTD$3.150b) and its assets were recently sold for US$35m (approx TT$245m).
The latest of these projects, the Ultra-Low Sulphur Diesel Project, was estimated to cost US$113m (approx TT$791m) and to date Petrotin has expended US$413m (approx TT$2.891b). Whilst the project is 98% mechanically completed it cannot be operated because the structural specifications were not adhered to, meaning the foundation is faulty and cannot be used and what is worse no one nor any entity has been held accountable for this expensive travesty. The cost to rectify this omission is estimated at US$350m (approximately TT$2.450b), money which we do not have and cannot easily borrow.
Unfortunately, the nightmare does not end with these disastrous projects, the company now borders on insolvency as its cost of operations far exceeds its revenue. Survival has only been possible through the non-payment of taxes and royalties owing to the Government as well as the procuring of Government guarantees for loans from financial institutions.
On its assumption of office in 2015 the Government recognised that Petrotrin would be a major challenge. Therefore, as stated, one of the earliest decisions of this administration was to appoint a broad-based Committee, chaired by Energy expert Selwyn Lashley, former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy. It also included Labour representatives and Leroy Mayers, former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance. They were to do an overview of the situation and make recommendations.
Following upon the Lashley report being submitted to the Energy Sub Committee of the Cabinet it was subjected to separate review and deeper analysis by the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Finance and by Petrotrin itself. Subsequent to the report of all these entities a new board was appointed with a mandate to review the entire state of affairs of the company and come up with a clear business plan for its turnaround. This work has been done.
In 2016 the management of Petrotrin provided an update on the company’s operations and its financial situation. The presentation was not re-assuring and highlighted the following: Cash flow Challenges - the then current global prices for crude and petroleum products impacted negatively on Petroleum operations and as result the company was seeking a guarantee for short term working capital credit support. At the end of 2015 short term loans already amounted to US$715m (approx. TT$5.005b).
Deficient Asset Integrity - The deficiencies have been reflected in major spills. The sum of $7b was estimated for the required upgrade and maintenance work for plant, equipment and installations. La Brea, the Gulf of Paria, the southwestern peninsula and the Venezuelan territory have already experienced this nightmare.
Declining land and marine production - Oil production averaged 45,000 barrels per day and to this day continues decline. This decline was partially due to the company’s cost of exploration and production and also due to the use by the company of its cash resources on the refinery side including that purchase of approximately 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day, instead of using the cash on exploration and production.
Manpower - the company was heavily overstaffed and there were deficiencies in technical competencies in key disciplines. Manpower costs then accounted for about 47% of recurrent expenditure and the company was exploring a reduction in staffing.
Financial Forecast - Management projected a loss of $648m in 2016 and return to profit of $635m by 2020. Debt was projected to fall from $12.3b in 2016 to $7.2b by 2020. The actual loss for 2016 turned out to be not $635m but $4.3b. Management’s projections were far removed from reality. Unfortunately, this kind of disconnect from reality is shared by other key elements of the equation.
The Lashley Report of June 2017 was received by a Government alarmed by the deteriorating financial position of Petrotrin. The situation cried out for intervention and restructuring
That Lashley Team’s assessment of Petrotrin is instructive and outlined the following:
• Petrotrin’s oil production has been in steady decline.
• That Petrotrin was overburdened with debt. The net debt at financial year-end 2015 amounted to $11.4b. Government provided guarantees for short term loans of US$230m (approximately TTD$1.610b) to support its operations and to meet financial obligations.
• Taxes and royalties owed to Government amounted to $3.1b as at February 28, 2017.viz the company was not complying with the tax laws and even when it collected taxes from companies that paid their taxes to Petrotrin for onward transmission to the Ministry of Finance Petrotrin was huffing and utilizing those monies in its own operations.
• The company was unprofitable and the outlook was for a worsening of operations unless there was a significant capital injection (which could only come from the Government which in its current financial situation is in no position to undertake these kinds of bailout expenditures).
• There was a need for a paradigm shift in the governance and management of Petrotrin. Based on its findings the Team submitted two recommendations:
• The imposition of governance arrangements, which allow for transparency and accountability, including the selection of members of the board, and the company be managed as competitive business, aimed at becoming a viable entity.
• The company be restructured as three independent business units, namely Trinmar, Land Exploration and Production and Refining and Marketing.
In keeping with Government’s commitment to transparency, a meeting was held by the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries with the OWTU which was led by its President General on Wednesday 19th July 2017 where the report was discussed.
At the meeting the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries outlined the unsatisfactory financial position of Petrotrin, which for the nine months ended June 30, 2017 included the following:
• Trinmar loss of $124m;
• Refining and Marketing loss of $1.038b;
• Working Capital Deficit of $6.577b; and
• Royalty and Taxes to Government of $3.220b owed to the Ministry of Finance under law.
The Minister also shared with the OWTU the recommendations of the Lashley Committee for the restructuring of Petrotrin. The OWTU supported the idea of restructuring Petrotrin into Business Units, the need for greater accountability and the strengthening of the board of directors.
It is noteworthy that in 2017 the company’s auditors advised that it write off over $4b in accumulated losses. This had a serious impact on Petrotrin’s balance sheet at a time when it was already financially crippled.
Following its review, Cabinet in September 2017 accepted the report and recommendations of the Lashley Committee for the restructuring of Petrotrin. The details and specifics of that restructuring was now to be worked out and actioned.
Cabinet also agreed that:
• The restructured Petrotrin must be managed and governed as a competitive business, aimed at becoming a sustainable profitable entity.
• The company engage the recognised trade union representing the employees of Petrotrin to discuss cost reduction and survival strategies required for the company to continue.
In order to treat with this very serious and urgent assignment by September 2017 the Government of Trinidad and Tobago appointed a new board of directors at Petrotrin and gave it a clear and specific mandate - to identify the specific problems at Petrotrin and take the steps necessary to make the company sustainable and profitable.
Prior to the appointment of the new board of Petrotrin, I informally invited the President General of the OWTU to discuss the way forward for Petrotrin, in anticipation of the outcome of the work of the new board but unfortunately this invitation was declined. It has always been my principle in dealing with Petrotrin to engage all stakeholders and provide us all with opportunities to work together to find solutions. I also invited Labour to sit on the new board of Petrotrin but that too was declined. It should also be noted that when the Government hosted, at the Hyatt, the Spotlight on the Energy Sector, once again the OWTU declined, on the grounds that they were not invited.
Notwithstanding these responses, the Government stayed focused on the task ahead and on which it was firmly engaged. The report of the team (the Lashley Committee) appointed to review the operations of Petrotrin and make recommendations for its restructuring was laid as a Paper in the House of Representatives and referred to the Joint Select Committee on Energy Affairs on Friday November 10, 2017.
The committee discussed the report at a number of meetings, which included public hearings with both Petrotrin and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries.
Now that the actual decisions have been taken in keeping with the recommendations and reviews, professional experts’ overviews and detailed analysis, it is disingenuous for any person, especially those involved, to plead lack of transparency and suddenness of Government action which should now be set aside in favour of “consultation” and “Parliamentary” discussion. These calls are nothing but self-serving, stalling tactics and political subterfuge, intended to maintain the status quo, even as the company sinks daily into a deeper quagmire and the whole country’s financial situation becomes more exposed to disastrous downgrade if the Petrotrin problem is not addressed.
Petrotrin is Trinidad and Tobago’s largest state enterprise. It operates in the industry that has been the country’s lifeblood for more than a century. It has within its portfolio some of Trinidad and Tobago’s most prized land and offshore oil and gas acreage.
This is a company that is supposed to be one of the major contributors to the national economy. When such an enterprise is losing money to the point where it can’t comply with the law, we have a major problem. As I said before, Petrotrin has become, for some time now, a ward of the treasury instead of a contributor to the treasury.
What this situation means is this:
a) money that the company should turn over to the ministry of Finance is held within the company for its own use (illegal)
b) money that is with the Ministry of Finance and needed to service the health sector, social service and other national priorities has to go to the Petrotrin to keep it afloat. This reflects itself in shortages of health care staff, insufficient medicine in the hospitals, reductions in CDAP and similar deprivations.
In the education sector we have many schools where construction has been stalled for want of funds and overall, contractors who did development works for the state are owed hundreds of millions which we are struggling to pay, so that children all over the nation can get their education in a safe and comfortable environment.
There are urgent sustained priorities in National Security where we have had to ground four helicopters because we cannot afford to pay the millions to maintain them.
In the social services sector, we are unable to provide an extra dollar to the vulnerable people who need it most, nor can we bring a few more needy persons onto the programs even though their circumstances warrant the assistance. We are having difficulty convincing Public Servants that they cannot look forward to any significant pay increases since the money is just not there to do so at this time. Yet the Minister of Finance is having to backstop huge losses at the refinery with little or no hope of recovery.
So you see fellow citizens this is not just a Petrotrin issue. We are all in this together. We have all been paying towards the losses and debt that I mentioned. We are all paying to keep the bad situation going and we will all benefit when we fix it.
The current board of Petrotrin sought to get a thorough understanding of the situation at the company and worked with ‘best in class’ advisors and petroleum industry experts - both local and international - to determine possible options given the company’s critical financial state and its deteriorating assets. This is an opportune moment for me to tell you that the nine member board of Petrotrin is one of the most qualified and experienced state enterprise boards, despite suggestions otherwise.
From the onset it was apparent that while there was some potential on the Exploration and Production side of the business, Refining & Marketing was at best marginal. The refinery was losing money on every barrel of oil it refined.
In December 2017, the new board met with the Government to present its findings and later met with Petrotrin’s unions and its employees to do the same.
The Government also met with the OWTU and other unions in February 2018 and amongst the issues discussed it was indicated to the unions, including the OWTU, that the Government was intending to have a public symposium with representatives of the business community, labour and government to discuss the energy sector, this was the “Spotlight on Energy”. It was intended that the state of Petrotrin should be addressed at the Spotlight on Energy; unfortunately, labour advised that this seminal event should not be held and refused to attend or participate in this national discussion. Labour was the first stakeholder body to be informed of this intended initiative.
It was recognised that the company and unions had a common interest with respect to the survivability, sustainability and profitability of Petrotrin. Notwithstanding its profitability in the distant past, the company and the unions understood that Petrotrin must become competitive within the principle of international benchmarks to be profitable.
Petrotrin’s business model has become obsolete and uncompetitive and its operating practices are inefficient. The company was nowhere in line with global industry standards and best practice. In fact the company’s operations are identified as being among the most inefficient in the world.
Left as it is, Petrotrin will require an immediate $25b cash injection just to stay alive. There is no way that the company can find this money. No financier will lend it because the company simply will not be able to repay such an additional loan. The Government certainly cannot ask you, the taxpayers, under our current circumstances to bank-roll this state of affairs. If not fixed, on this scale, the company is projected to continue accumulating losses at a rate of about $2 billion a year.
Maintenance of the status quo is not sustainable. It is unfortunately not a viable option. To do so is to saddle future generations with a massive debt burden and, at the same time, undermine the Government’s ability to fund urgent and necessary infrastructural works and social development. This affects every citizen of Trinidad and Tobago. If not dealt with now, the negative effects will simply just continue to get worse by the accumulation of more debt.
To get the refining side of the business to a point where it might have a chance to break even would cost $7b. This would involve significant staff cuts, huge assumptions regarding efficiency improvements, a new Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel facility and infrastructure upgrades, all of which are impossible to finance.
The Government’s vision is for Petrotrin to be profitable and internationally competitive and a leader in the local energy sector; an employer of choice and a source of national pride.
The board is developing a model for Petrotrin that is designed specifically to manage its assets to yield the most value for Trinidad and Tobago.
The company will be better structured, with improved work processes and the capacity to respond quickly to changes in the international market.
Our Point-a-Pierre refinery is a hundred and one years old and has reached the end of its commercially viable days. It is now at a stage where it is haemorrhaging cash and the cost of rehabilitating it is way more than its potential to ever be profitable, competitive or sustainable.
The only commercially sound and viable option is to close the refinery; export Petrotrin’s oil which will be produced by an efficient and aggressive exploration programme and to import products to replace those previously supplied by the Point-a-Pierre refinery. This will move the company from a state of chronic money losing to one which will turn a tidy profit for the taxpayers.
The refining assets of Petrotrin can now be put in a separate company for opportunity attention. The OWTU will be given the first option to own and operate it on the most favourable terms.
The decision to close the refinery was taken after detailed analysis and deep introspection. This is not a decision that was made lightly or easily. Options were explored and reviewed. We sent the board back on a number of occasions to consider different scenarios and possibilities. At every step the effect on workers and their families and the communities that rely on refinery operations was considered.
Workers and Contractors
The Government is acutely aware of the traumatic effect of this development on all the workers, their families and the wider fence line communities such as Marabella, Point-a-Pierre, Gasparillo, San Fernando and surroundings. In order to minimise the overall negative effects of this inevitable decision to get out of refining the Government will ensure that the workers who are surplus to the requirement of the renewed effort leave the company with an attractive separation package that should be well received and backed up by the assured pension payments to come. The wider population in these fence-line communities will benefit from some deliberate additional Government expenditure on infrastructure and social support.
Everyone involved in this process is acutely aware of the very significant impact that these the decisions will have on Petrotrin’s employees and their families. The difficult fact is that we had no choice. To have left the company as it was would have only made the situation worse. The decision would have been taken out of our hands and we would not have been in a position to cushion the effect of the changes.
By moving to fix the company now, we are in a position to treat employees with care and concern by softening the effects of the required adjustments. The company will treat every employee with dignity and provide services such as financial advice and employee assistance programmes for psychological support.
Workers are expected to receive significant financial packages upon ties being severed with the company.
In Refining and Marketing, approximately 1,700 permanent workers will be affected. In Exploration and Production, employment levels are to be reduced from 1,700 workers to approximately 800 persons. A large number of these workers, those over 50, may be able to exit by way of attractive early retirement packages.
As the company now focuses on significant expansion of exploration and production activities, this will positively impact the communities of the south western peninsula. It will be a significant re-invigoration of the oil economy in these areas bringing much new or expanded business not just for Petrotrin but opportunities for the many service companies which will be associated with this new business model.
In the coming weeks the Government will take part in the announcement and participation in at least two significant industrial projects in the southwestern peninsula. Initiatives like these will certainly contribute to the new beginning that we are working towards.
Increased drilling and production works, both on land and offshore, are to be expected in the new business model. There will be increased use of service contractors and suppliers and this should cushion the effects of loss of some opportunities at the refinery.
National Fuel Supply
Trinidad and Tobago consumes less than 25,000 barrels of refined products a day (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, etc.). The detailed economic analyses have shown that it makes far more sense for us to export the 40,000 barrels of oil that we currently produce and import the fuel we need. The company will now focus on increasing the production of barrels of oil and each barrel will be sold externally on the open market.
This will help to improve the country’s earning potential.
In catering for the nation’s needs the company will move smoothly into bunkering of refined products for supplying the regional market without having to lose money through our own refinery inefficiencies.
This week’s announcement is a first step in that direction, it is now for everyone involved - the leadership, the employees, suppliers, contractors, lease operators and labour representatives to transform this potential into reality.
With the termination of the Refining business and the redesign of Exploration and Production, Petrotrin can now independently finance all of its debt and become a sustainable business. It will also ease the burden on the Ministry of Finance thereby making more resources available to service the needs of the wider population in all areas of national development.
There is opportunity for new entrepreneurship to grow and workers and businesses should not be misled and fall prey to misinformation and fear mongering.
Change like this is always difficult and even traumatic; but the good of the country must look ahead.
We see this as an opportunity to save the country from financial disaster and turnaround a situation that had become an unsustainable drain on taxpayers. But let us not be naive, there are elements in our society who do not view this change the same way but see it as an opportunity to further their own ends in mischief making.
I am appealing to all those directly or indirectly affected to be strong and have faith in your country.
I want to give you the assurance that the same resolve that took us to make the decision to close the refinery is the same strength of character which will see this Government put your anxiety ahead of any other consideration and will undertake to allocate resources so that calm and prosperity will soon return to you and your neighbourhoods.
During this difficult period of transition and uncertainty there will be those who have different views on the way forward; this is only natural; it is important that everyone who works for or with Petrotrin remains committed to operating in the best interest of all the people of Trinidad and Tobago and acknowledge their obligation to the nation.
We appeal for the understanding and support of all contractors and employees (permanent; temporary or casual) at this critical time in the company’s history. Unnecessary work stoppages and other contrived industrial actions are not in the nation’s best interest. This will only obstruct the already embattled company, and delay this irreversible and unavoidable process geared towards converting a money losing company into a profitable enterprise for the benefit of the entire nation.
It is my sincere hope that you will recognize the implications that such action can have on our stakeholders, including those to whom we are heavily indebted and ask that you make the best decision not just for you but for your children.
Let us all work together to make the Petrotrin the success it can be. I am confident all persons will place national interest at the forefront and that the re-invented Petrotrin will assume its rightful place in the oil and gas sector of Trinidad and Tobago.
The T&T Guardian, as part of its 101st-anniversary celebration, will be relaunching its website and Digital Guardian App today.
The new website boasts of a clean, simple, easy-to-read design that complements our recently redesigned paper. The new web pages are fully responsive for seamless, immersive viewing on your desktop, mobile or tablet.
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Calling for a national debate on Petrotrin’s closure, Congress of the People leader Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan yesterday predicted that millions of dollars will have to be paid in damages to Samsung Engineering and Construction if the Petrotrin refinery is closed.
Speaking at a meeting in Penal with Petrotrin workers, Seepersad-Bachan said Samsung Engineering and Construction has already counter-sued Petrotrin over the incomplete construction of the US$260 million Ultra Low Sulphur diesel plant.
Saying the plant is 90 per cent complete and would have increased the refinery’s profit margin by $US$6 per barrel, Seepersad-Bachan said once the refinery is closed, arbitrary proceedings will come to an end.
“We will lose our counterclaim and Samsung has a claim against Petrotrin, so if we lose and Samsung wins their claim, millions of dollars will be going out in damages. Who is going to pick up that cost? Has the company instructed its lawyers to settle this matter and pay damages?” Seepersad-Bachan said.
She called on Government to do a socio-economic impact analysis on the refinery’s closure before taking a decision to shut it down.
Calling on workers to join the struggle and prevent the closure of the refinery, Seepersad-Bachan said, “We need to have a proper debate on this issue. Let us unite and stand up for what is right and what is ours. Let us not sell out the patrimony of our country.”
She also called on Government to reveal the contents of a report done by external consultants McKinsey, who was hired to review the restructuring of Petrotrin.
“Let the country see the details of this report. Why is it shrouded in secrecy?” she asked.
Two years after monitoring the now discontinued Continuous Assessment Component (CAC) of the Secondary Entrance Assessment, retired educators are still awaiting payment of their gratuity by the Ministry of Education.
Meanwhile, several of the 25 former school supervisors and principals who were employed on contract by the ministry in January 2016 are suffering from various illnesses in their senior years. They said the money needed to purchase the required drugs are too much for their pensions and they are depending on their $20,000 gratuity.
In 2012, the CAC was introduced to diversify the SEA syllabus. From the academic year 2013-2014, 20 per cent of the marks originated from Standard Four performances and another 20 per cent from Standard Five. Pupils were assessed in dance, drama, agricultural science, citizenship education, visual arts education, music, physical education and character education. However, in April 2012 the CAC was discontinued as Cabinet decided it was being done to the detriment of students.
Former monitor David Maharaj said they were hired to ensure the assessment was an appropriate standard and there was quality marking. After the CAC was scrapped the ministry reassigned them to other duties, like monitoring the curriculum. By September 2016, three months shy of their contract expiry, they were called to a meeting at the Rudranath Capildeo Learning Resource Centre in Couva and told of the termination of their contracts.
According to Maharaj, their contract had a termination clause that absolved the ministry from paying for the entire duration of the contract. However, he said an official told them because they were being terminated early the ministry would make every effort to pay the gratuity expeditiously. But this month makes it two years since they were severed.
Another former monitor, Benison Jagessar, told the T&T Guardian that many of the former monitors have been to the ministry inquiring about payment. However, the standard response was that the ministry is still awaiting terms and conditions from the Chief Personnel Officer and this must be done before payments can be made.
“A lot of the monitors need to get their money because they are getting sick. They need it for health reason. We checked the ministry a few months ago and we got the same story. When I asked them when they will get the terms and condition, they said they don’t know,” Jagessar said.
“A few monitors have died since without getting their payment. We are retirees, some in our 60s and 70s and some of us have health problems. We are depending on this money to help us.”
Contacted on the issue, Minister in the Ministry of Education Dr Lovell Francis said he would ask the Director of Finance at the ministry to investigate the claim and have it rectified as soon as possible. He said because of the bureaucracy in the public service the ministry has to get the terms and conditions of the monitors’ contracts before payments can be made.
T&T soca artiste Olatunji Yearwood has made it through to the next round of the United Kingdom’s X Factor show after delivering a very energetic performance of his hit “Bodyline” on one of the UK’s main competitive stages yesterday.
Yearwood, 33, who was described as a “superstar” and who won the Soca Groovy Monarch/International Soca Monarch in 2015, wowed the judges – Simon Cowell, Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field – with his energetic performance, which he did in the company of two dancers.
In the intro video leading up to his audition, Yearwood said he loves the UK and has been “coming up and down” since he was 15 years old as he has family there. He indicated that he thought the X Factor was the best stage to promote soca music worldwide. Yearwood ended the brief video clipping with his famous “Tadow” chant.
Giving a “footwork” teaser as he walked out on stage, Yearwood, dressed in a mustard-coloured jacket suit, hyped up the crowd by getting them to chant after him “Whoa…whoa.”
When Bodyline started playing, Yearwood was joined onstage by the two female dancers, who also gave exuberating dance moves that shook their entire bodyline.
Yearwood ended his performance with an “I love you” and received a standing ovation.
Cowell, in delivering the last needed vote, said: “It’s exactly the kind of act I love finding on a show like this…you have 4,500 yeses.”
Yearwood’s success at this first round, which aired live at about 3 pm local time yesterday, quickly went viral on social media with scores of people expressing pride and wishing him all the best in the remainder of the competition.
A teenager who lost his home and then his father, who drowned two years ago, is now fearful he will lose his chance at a successful life because his mother cannot afford to send him to the secondary school he passed for.
While thousands of children head out for school today, the teenager, who passed for Moruga Composite in this year’s Secondary Examination Assessment (SEA), will be at his Lengua home wishing he could have attended.
During an interview yesterday, his mother Nadia Singh said she has been begging for a transfer for him to attend one of two schools closer to their home. She said it would cost her $50 a day to send her son to Moruga Composite and this was not possible.
“I simply cannot afford it and while he wants to go to school and he is a bright student he will have to stay home,” Singh said with tears in her eyes while her son hugged her.
She added that since her husband Kimchan Singh, 42, drowned at Moruga Beach on January 29, 2016, life has been difficult.
“Taking care of these children is very hard. I never believed this could have happened to us. We were a happy family and then one day we lost everything,” Singh said.
She explained that in the years before her husband’s death a broken water line had caused their sprawling concrete mansion to cave in. When the T&T Guardian visited yesterday, the remains of their once happy home stood lopsided in a precipice in front of the one-room plyboard house in which the family now lives.
Singh said she attends church and begs God to help her. She said several people have been assisting them and for this she was grateful. However, she called on the Ministry of Education to help her get a transfer for her son.
“I don’t want my child to get wayward. He needs to go to school. Education is the key to having a better life. I want my children to have a better life,” Singh said.
She added that her other children, eight, 10 and 15, are all set for school thanks to the help from citizens.
“A Good Samaritan bought all their books and I cut back on groceries and bought their uniforms. If my son gets through with a transfer, ... either one, I will have to see how we can raise money for his uniform and books,” she said.
Her home was immaculately clean and two beds stood in one room where they sleep.
Asked what she needed to make their lives better, Singh responded, “The house is very small and if we could have one more room, it would make us all more comfortable.”
Since August, Naparima MP Rodney Charles has written to the Minister of Education Anthony Garcia asking him to intervene on Darian’s behalf. Attempts made to contact Garcia for comment yesterday were unsuccessful as he did not answer his cellphone.
Anyone wanting to assist the family can contact Singh at 329 5265.
Editor’s note: The T&T Guardian is withholding the name of the teenager involved to prevent him from becoming a victim of possible stigmatisation and bullying when he eventually goes out to school.
Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith says he plans to continue dressing in operational wear for field operations. He made the comment yesterday during a visit to Bon Air Gardens, Arouca, where officers had hours earlier conducted several raids for suspects involved in a string of gang-related murders.
“I dress like my troops. What I wear is minor to how I perform. I would not have my troops do what I would not do myself, if my troops are in operation I would be with them,” Griffith told the media at the end of the 24-hour police exercise he named “Operation Strike Back”.
He said the operation became necessary as the community was living under siege following six murders 10 days in addition to other serious crimes, but admitted such exercises would not always be possible.
He said the officers had targeted the community after gaining intelligence. He said clinical policing based on this intelligence had assisted them in targeting certain individuals.
Noting that the 85-plus officers involved in the exercise also had support from the Air Division, he said, “We have been able to mobilise the asset and utilise resources of the Ministry of National Security so that the police can perform in an effective and efficient manner. This is not a case of taxpayers increasing their cost, what is increasing is professional policing in intelligence-driven operations. So this is an operation that was well orchestrated and we would have seen it by the 85-plus officers on the ground with logistic equipment.”
The exercise began around 10 pm on Saturday and ended on Sunday around 10 am.
Asked if he has any contingency plan in place for possible action by the unions in response to the Petrotrin restructuring, he said this should be addressed by the Minister of National Security.
Supt Mc Donald Jacob, of Northern Division, told T&T Guardian the operation resulted in the arrest of 24 people and the seizure of three firearms and 25 rounds of ammunition. Three of the arrested suspects were held in connection with the recent spate of murders.
Meanwhile, Arouca/Maloney MP Camille Robinson-Regis is linking the killings in the Bon Air district to the stalled construction of a community centre in the area.
In a statement yesterday, Robinson-Regis said after getting information she contacted Griffith for assistance for the community.
“I contacted the Commissioner of Police requesting the intervention of the police in the Bon Air Gardens area, where there has been an upsurge in criminal activity which seems to linked to the contact for the construction in the area of a much-needed community centre,” she said.
The Bon Air South Community Centre project which Robinson-Regis is referring to was pegged at $10.4 million and was expected to be handed over by August 2018. However, weeks before the building was completed the main contractor walked off the project because gangs in the area were demanding for protection money. A sub-contractor took over the project but was also forced to abandon it after he said a gun was pointed at him on the site and protection money was also demanded.
Robinson-Regis yesterday confirmed the job has still not yet been awarded to a new contractor but that the Urban Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCott) was working on selecting one.
With regards to the lockdown, Robinson-Regis also thanked Acting Commissioner of Police Jacobs for his assistance.
Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget is rejecting Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s offer of the sale of Petrotrin refinery to the union, as well as the attractive severance and early retirement packages for workers over 50 who will be affected by the impending shutdown.
In an immediate response to Rowley’s address to the nation last evening, Roget said the union felt “vindicated” by the PM’s words.
“We are vindicated because we knew that the plan was to sell the refinery,” Roget said.
However, he said the union never wanted to own the refinery.
“We are patriots and we know that the refinery belongs to the people. It does not belong in the hands of a private owner, even if that owner is the union,” he said.
The union, with support from almost 20 other trade unions, is expected to deliver a letter to Rowley today offering an alternative plan of action for the refinery.
In a television interview last evening as well, Roget also questioned some of the figures quoted by Rowley and promised that he will be challenging it in the upcoming days. He also said claims by Rowley that the union refused to meet with Government were untrue and insisted that there should be public consultations on Petrotrin’s future, specifically on the decision to shut down the refinery.
Also commenting last evening was former energy minister Kevin Ramnarine, who said he strongly believes nothing is wrong with considering a public-private partnership approach to the refinery going forward.
Saying the refinery remains a strategic asset, Ramnarine said a number of the plants that were built as part of the Gasoline Optimization Programme are still relatively new and were completed in 2013. He added that the Cat Cracker was upgraded and that work was completed in 2014 and certified by Lloyd’s, so Government could find a company willing to take over the refinery.
“I think it is possible to find reputable companies with the requisite capital and expertise who will be willing to partner with the Government to make the refinery viable,” Ramnarine said.
“Also, as I have indicated there will be an impact on the contractors and the energy service companies that depended on the expenditure of the refinery to support their business.”
Ramnarine speculated that more will be heard on the issue in the coming weeks and in the upcoming budget debate.
Vandals smashed windows, destroyed drain pipes and threw rocks inside a centre housing Rousillac Hindu School pupils a day before the start of the new school term yesterday.
Cleaners who went to get the Rousillac Community Centre prepared for school were astonished to see boulders and rocks littering the yard where the children usually play. The vandals were unable to get into the compound because of the fence but councillor for the area Chandra Ramadharsingh said they wreaked havoc at the pavilion building next door.
When the T&T Guardian arrived yesterday, two windows of the pavilion building at the back were smashed. Water also sprayed from the broken pipes. Two tanks which were on stands stood empty as all the water leaked out. The front of the compound was drenched.
Ramadharsingh said the new pavilion conference building was opened a month ago and two days after the opening, vandals tried to take the toilet.
“This is so disappointing. We only now get the building and now we will have to see if we can set up surveillance cameras to prevent this from happening again,” Ramadharsingh said.
She said the school was now a target for criminals.
She added that they previously held meetings in the conference room of the pavilion previously but since the vandalism occurred people were now afraid to meet at that location.
Police said yesterday that they interviewed a suspect but had to release him as there was no evidence linking him to the crime. Officers said the suspect was also accused of vandalising a resident’s home.
The school was destroyed in a fire in 2012 and the students have been accommodated in the centre since then. The new school is 85 per cent completed and the contractor has said if the Government clears outstanding debts owed, the new school can be completed in six months.
The refinery at Petrotrin is for sale and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is offering the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union the first chance at acquiring it.
In an address to the nation last evening, Rowley reiterated much of what was already in the public domain since the meeting between the union and executives at Petrotrin last Tuesday, except for this new alternative to shutting down the refinery completely as part of the restructuring process.
Saying the refinery was 101 years old and had reached the end of its commercially viable days, Rowley said, “It is now at a stage where it is haemorrhaging cash and the cost of rehabilitating it is way more than its potential to ever be profitable, competitive or sustainable.
“The only commercially sound and viable option is to close the refinery; export Petrotrin’s oil which will be produced by an efficient and aggressive exploration programme and to import products to replace those previously supplied by the Point-a-Pierre refinery.”
He added: “This will move the company from a state of chronic money losing to one which will turn a tidy profit for the taxpayers. The refining assets of Petrotrin can now be put in a separate company for opportunity attention. The OWTU will be given the first option to own and operate it on the most favourable terms.”
Despite that offer, Rowley went on to make a case for the shutdown of the plants. He said the board was now developing a model for Petrotrin designed specifically “to manage its assets to yield the most value for Trinidad and Tobago”.
“The company will be better structured, with improved work processes and the capacity to reason quickly to changes in the international market,” Rowley said.
He said he had tried to meet and talk with OWTU president general Ancel Roget on three separate occasions but was blanked all three times
He said even before the new board was appointed in September 2017, he invited Roget to an informal meeting to discuss a way forward for Petrotrin but that invitation was declined. The second attempt at a meeting came when the PM invited labour to sit on the new board of Petrotrin but it was again declined. The third attempt by the Government to meet with the union to discuss Petrotrin’s plight came during the
‘Spotlight on the Energy Sector’ which the Government hosted at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain in March.
“Once again, the OWTU declined on the grounds that they were not invited,” Rowley said.
He said it was now duplicitous for any person to say that there was a lack of transparency in the decision to shut down the refinery.
“Now that the actual decisions have been taken in keeping with the recommendations and reviews, professional experts’ overviews and detailed analysis, it is disingenuous for any person, especially those involved, to plead lack of transparency and suddenness of Government action which should now be set aside in favour of “consultation” and “Parliamentary” discussion,” Rowley said.
He described such calls now as “self-serving”, “stalling tactics” and “political subterfuge”.
Early retirement incentive
Going forward, however, PM Rowley said the refinery workers could expect a hefty severance.
“In refining and marketing, approximately 1,700 permanent workers will be affected. In exploration and production, employment levels are to be reduced from 1,700 to approximately 800 persons,” he said of the numbers of workers involved.
However, he said workers over 50 years may be offered an “attractive early retirement package.
Roget had asked the PM to consider the negative impact a shutdown will have on neighbouring communities, but Rowley suggested Government would be able to handle some of the fallout.
“As the company now focuses on significant expansion of exploration and production activities, this will positively impact the communities of the southwestern peninsula,” Rowley said.
He said in the coming weeks, the Government planned to take part in two “significant industrial projects” in the southwestern peninsula.
“Increased drilling and production works, both on land and offshore, are to be expected in the new business model,” he said.
“There will be increased use of service contractors and suppliers and this should cushion the effects of loss of some opportunities at the refinery.”
Rowley also said the local economy consumes some 25,000 barrels of fuel a day and experts have found it more feasible to export the 40,000 barrels that are currently produced and instead import the fuel that is needed.
“The company will now focus on increasing the production of barrels of oil and each barrel will be sold externally on the open market,” he said.
This, he added, will improve the country’s earning potential.
He also listed bunkering of refined products as one of the potential earning avenues for the company.
In closing, Rowley called for understanding and commitment from those involved in Petrotrin.
“Unnecessary work stoppages and other contrived industrial actions are not in the nations best interest. This will only obstruct the already embattled company and delay this irreversible and unavoidable process,” Rowley said.
COMPANY A STRAIN ON THE ECONOMY
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is also blaming the shortfalls in various sectors on Petrotrin. He said national security, the health sector, social services, construction and the education sectors had suffered because funding went to keep Petrotrin operating instead.
“Other national priorities had to go to Petrotrin to keep it afloat,” Rowley said, adding that the shortage in funding was then reflected in gaps in healthcare staff, insufficient medicine in hospitals and reductions in CDAP.
With regards to the education sector, he said there were several schools where construction was stalled because of a lack of funding.
“Contractors who did development works for the State are owed hundreds of millions which we are struggling to pay so that children all over the nation can get their education in a safe and comfortable environment,” he said.
“There are urgent sustained priorities in National Security where we have had to ground four helicopters because we cannot afford to pay the millions to maintain them.”
He said despite this, the Minister of Finance had to “backstop huge losses at the refinery with little or no hope of recovery”.
Rowley said Petrotrin was losing money to the point where it could not comply with the law. He said the financial situation at Petrotrin was so dire it had become a ward of the Treasury instead of contributing to it.
“What this situation means is this, money that the company should turn over the Ministry of Finance is held within the company for its own use, illegal,” Rowley said.
“We are all paying to keep the bad situation going and we will all benefit when we fix it,” he said.
The sporting contribution of our athletes locally, regionally and internationally have helped defined T&T 56 years of political Independence and 42 years (August 1st 1976) of Republicanism. Coming out of the throes of colonialism and cast with the responsibility of managing the challenges of economic, political and socio-cultural development, the country’s sportsmen and women have constantly offered a beacon of hope and great expectations where our leaders have sometimes been bereft of ideas and bland.
The relatively young twin-island of 1.3 million has produced athletes who have been able to stand tall consistently at age group and senior levels on the regional, hemisphere and global stage. Some of the stellar international performances (not limited) include:
n Hasley Crawford and Keshorn Walcott—Olympic Gold medallists
n Akeem Stewart—World record holder Para Athletics (Shot Putt)
n T&T was crowned joint World Netball Champions with Australia and New Zealand in 1979
n National Men Senior team finalist at FIFA Germany World Cup 2006
n National U20 team finalist at U20 FIFA World Cup, Portugal, 1990
n Claude Noel first world champion, Mexican Rodolfo Gonzalez to win the WBA World Lightweight title,1981
n Leslie Stewart won the WBA World Light Heavyweight title in 1987 defeating Marvin ‘pops’ Johnson
n Ria Ramnarine T&T first female world champion, defeated Ana Fernandez to win the WIBA Mini Flyweight World title, 2005
n Giselle Salandy multiple World champion- WBA, WBC and WIBA middleweight titles
n Brian Lara world record holder for the highest first-class score (501 not out) and highest test score (400 not out).
n T&T Men’s Indoor hockey team- World Cup finalist, Germany, 2018
n T&T Women’s Volleyball team finalist at FIVB World Championship, Japan 2018
To provide support the state over the years have ramped-up the delivery of sporting facilities throughout the country as well as developing two-sport policies- 2002 and 2017-2027. The implementation of the national sports reward policy scheduled for September 12 is a landmark accomplishment to acknowledge sporting accomplishments in an organised manner. Time and evidence will be the judge of how well the other aspects of the 2017-2027 sports policy is achieved.
Additionally, the development of a sports tourism policy is urgently required to provide a basis upon which sporting facilities especially the aquatic centre, cycling velodrome and racquet centre can be converted into generating its own revenue.
Off the field, issues of good governance interwoven into a power struggle are casting a huge shadow of uncertainty about a strategic development path for two of the major sporting disciplines in the country- cricket and football. If these fires are not appropriately extinguished it can regrettably spread to other sporting disciplines.
So there is a lot to celebrate in the country’s short sporting history (Independence/Republicanism), however, there is a lot more to be done at the governance level- state and national governing bodies- to ensure that the sportsmen and women of today and tomorrow will have the right environment to improve on the stellar performances of their predecessors.
“I don’t feel it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning.” Michel Foucault
T&T’s international striker Jamille “Balo” Boatswain marked his return to the Defence Force Football team with a late goal off the bench on Saturday, but it came in a losing effort as the Tetron Boys were edged 3-2 by rivals Police FC in one of two rescheduled Pro League clashes at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
Kareem “Scooby” Freitas scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season in all competitions to cushion the Lawmen after veteran Defence Force forward Devorn Jorsling had cancelled Shakuile Williams’ second-minute opener with a free kick early in the second half.
Jorsling, though, failed to level the game at the death after Boatswain, 24, who first joined Tetron Boys in January 2017 from Point Fortin Civic before moving to Costa Rica’s LD Alajuelense, put the Marvin Gordon coached-Defence Force within striking distance of a point.
Earlier, Keion Goodridge, Joshua Alexander and debuting 20-year-old Grenada international forward Saydrel Lewis all scored their first Morvant Caledonia United goals to lift the ‘Eastern Stallions’ to their first Pro League win of the season with a 3-0 win over Terminix St. Ann’s Rangers.
The Jerry Moe-coached Morvant Caledonia (on 5 points), with a game in hand against bottom-placed North East Stars, however, continue to occupy eighth spot, one down from Rangers (6 points) while Police (9 points) are sixth, one point less than, in descending order, Defence Force, Central FC and Club Sando. Last season’s runners-up W Connection (16 points) and San Juan Jabloteh (13 points) lead the pack ahead of the break.
Goodridge, 27, a multiple-time league winner with former club Central FC, headed his latest employers Morvant Caledonia in front 1-0 after 18 minutes when he steered a Renaldo Francois corner past Rangers goalie Jabari St. Hillaire.
Hillaire’s second half continued the way the first ended and was forced into action seconds into the restart by Daniel.
Alexander then put his name on the scoresheet for the first time in his professional career with a goal he’d never forget after smashing the ball past the towering frame of Hillaire from distance six minutes into the second half to make it 2-0.
Lewis, six minutes after replacing Andrew Murray who failed to convert a one-on-one chance with Hillaire and two days after arriving in T&T, smashed in Morvant Caledonia’s third item to make it 3-0 after he was picked out by overlooked T&T international Aikim Andrews in the 64th minute.
Lewis, formerly of Paradise FC in his native Grenada, missed a second two minutes later when he turned an Andrews cross directly at Hillaire who gathered comfortably.
In the second contest, Shakuile Williams made the best of a rare start for the Richard Hood coached-Police, and it took the diminutive forward one minute and 34 seconds to fire the Lawmen in front, 1-0 with his first top-flight goal.
Williams controlled sharply in the box before quickly jabbing the ball past Defence Force goalkeeper Sheldon Clarke. Williams found the back of the net again on 36th-minute but that time his celebrations ended prematurely with the flag already raised for offside.
Hardworking Christian Thomas, who had won the ball from right-back Jemel Sebro to provide the opening assist, tested Clarke from above the area on the half-hour mark, but the Defence Force ‘keeper was equal to the task as he did again two minutes from the break after Thomas’s nutmeg on defender Aklie Edwards to create a look on goal.
However, Jorsling levelled the Tetron Boys 1-1 three minutes into the second half when Police goalkeeper Adrian Foncette spilled the striker’s free-kick into his own net – after Brent Sam was brought down at the edge of the box.
But Freitas, who has now scored in three consecutive outings for Police, headed the Lawmen back in front 2-1 after 53d minutes of play after towering in the Defence Force six-yard area to put a Christon Thomas cross past Clarke.
Freitas later completed his third double of the season in all competitions with his sixth league goal by way of the penalty spot when he wrong sided Clarke to cushion the Lawmen 3-1 in the 71st minute after referee Gordon Maloney pointed to the spot for a handball in Defence Force in the area.
Defence Force came within striking distance of a draw after substitutes Reon Moore and Boatswain, whose latest stint was in South America with CD Honduras Progreso, combined three minutes from time for the latter to score at close range, beating Foncette.
However, with Police leading narrowly 3-2, Jorsling struck overbar at the goalmouth on another Moore feed into the area in the 90th minute as the Lawmen held on for a third straight win.
Pro League action is scheduled to return from Sep. 14 with Morvant Caledonia and Defence Force against Jabloteh and Sando, respectively, in a doubleheader at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
n Terminix St. Ann’s Rangers 0 vs Morvant Caledonia United 3 (Keion Goodridge 18’, Joshua Alexander 51’, Saydrel Lewis 64’), at Ato Boldon Stadium;
n Defence Force FC 2 (Devorn Jorsling 48’, Jamille Boatswain 87’) vs Police FC 3 (Shakuile Williams 2’, Kareem Freitas 53’, 71’ pen.), at Ato Boldon Stadium.
T&T Calypso Girls retained their Americas Federation of Netball Association title with a comfortable 65-51 victory over host Barbados when the eight-team tournament ended at the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, Bridgetown, Barbados last night.
Going into the match, both teams were already assured of qualification to next year’s Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England, but it was an opportunity for visitors to turn the tables on the host which inflicted a 3-0 series whipping here in T&T last year.
However, the Wesley “Pepe” Gomes-coached T&T women were eager for the win to keep hold of their crown after missing out on participation at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year in Australia.
Both teams started off shaky with the professional shooting duo of Australia-based Samantha Wallace and England-based Kalifa Mc Collin, coming up heavy pressure from the aggressive Barbadian defence/
However, the T&T pair was up to the task and at the end of the first quarter, both teams were level at 15-15.
The second quarter saw a more composed T&T team step up their game both on the attacking end and defensive circle to open a 30-26 advantage at the half-time interval.
Barbados was forced into a change in defence at the start of the third period and the Calypso Girls with Ornella Jack now in goal defence for Shaquanda Greene took full advantage with Wallace sinking all 11 of her attempts and Mc Collin, seven from nine to extend the lead to 48-37 at the end of the third quarter.
The final period was a much closer affair but with Jack and Kemba Duncan in defence along with the experience captain Rhonda John-Davis orchestra things from the centre, the outcome was never in doubt as T&T closed out the match, 17-14 in the final period to end with a perfect record of 7-0 while Barbados was second with a 6-1 mark, and Grenada, third with a 5-2 mark.
In other matches yesterday, Canada defeated St Maarten 65-27 while St Vincent and The Grenadines outclassed Argentina, 88-24.
Brandon Calliste and Nathan Julien scored two goals each to lead Prison Service past Erin FC 4-0 in a rescheduled T&T Super League at Youth Training Centre Ground, Arouca on Thursday.
Calliste opened and ended the scoring in the 15th and 61st minutes while Julien netted in the 25th and 33rd minute for the winners, now fourth on the table with 23 points from 13 matches, seven adrift of leaders Queen’s Park Cricket Club.
FC Santa Rosa is second with 28 points followed by Cunupia FC with 26.
The teams will now change focus to the Super League Cup with QPCC, and FC Santa Rosa both on bye.
LATEST T&T SUPER LEAGUE STANDINGS
1. QPCC................................. 13.......9........3......1.....30.... 14...... 30
2. FC Santa Rosa................. 13.......9........1......3.....36.... 11...... 28
3. Cunupia FC...................... 13.......7........5......1.....28.... 11...... 26
4. Guaya Utd....................... 12.......7........4......1.....24.... 10...... 25
5. Prisons Service............... 13.......6........5......2.....18.... 13...... 23
6. Matura ReUnited........... 13.......6........3......4.....26.... 28...... 21
7. Police FC.......................... 13.......5........5......3.....18.... 16...... 20
8. RSSR FC............................ 13.......3........6......4.....16.... 18...... 15
9. UTT.................................... 12.......4........2......6.....17.... 21...... 11
10. Club Sando Cultural... 13.......2........3......8.......9.... 21.........9
11. Bethel Utd..................... 12.......1........5......6.....14.... 26.........8
12. Erin FC............................ 13.......1........4......8.....13.... 27.........7
13. P.V.D.M Utd.................... 12.......1........4......7.....11.... 24.........7
14. San F’do Giants............ 13.......0........6......7.......9.... 29.........6
NB: UTT deducted three points for not fielding a youth
team in any competition.
Nicholas Paul secured his second medal, a bronze after he placed third in the 1Kilometre Time Trial event behind a time a 59.450 seconds Pan American Elite Track Cycling and Caribbean Championship in Aguascalientes, Toluca, Mexico, yesterday.
Paul, 19, qualified as the second fastest after a new national record time of 59.443 seconds. With that effort, Paul became the first T&T cyclist to dip below the one minute or 60-seconds barrier. On Saturday night, the T&T champ was beaten in the sprint final 2-1 despite crashing hard while in the third ride-off with the rides even at 1-1, against Canadian Hugo Barrette, who eventually denied Paul the gold.
Paul defeated Jair Tjon en Fa of Suriname in the semi-finals in three rides. He also copped top honours in the Caribbean Championships while teammate Keron Bramble grabbed bronze.
On Thursday, the team of Njisane Phillip, Paul, Kwesi Browne and Keron Bramble sped away with the gold in the Team Sprint event and with it set a new Pan American record 42. 681 seconds while holding off Colombia (43.095) for second and Brazil (43.860) for the bronze.
Akil Campbell dug deep in the Omnium Points Race to lap the bunch twice on his way to finishing 10th overall and first in the Caribbean Championships.
Meanwhile, Jabari Whiteman, 17, shattered the previous record of 1:03.389 to clock a time of 1:01.053 in his Junior Kilometres ride. He’s now ranked as T&T’s third fastest kilo rider in the sport local history.
Compatriot Quincy Alexander finished 12th overall with a time of 1:02.114 and did not advance any further in the event.
Alexi Costa secured bronze in the Women’s Scratch race in the Caribbean Track Championships.
T&T ends the Championships with a gold, silver and bronze in the Elite class and in the Caribbean championship the team captured five gold, six silver and three bronze medals.
In addition to the medals, the cyclist’s riders established three new Pan American records in the Team Sprint, Standing 250m and Flying 200m ride. Also, five new national records were set in the Team Sprint,
Flying 200m, standing 250m, 1km Time Trial and Junior 1km Time Trial races. Paul became the second fastest man alive in the Flying 200m with his 9.387-second clocking while Njisane Phillip’s 17.049 Standing 250 among he top five fastest times ever recorded times.
T&T’s athletes gained massive Olympic Qualification and UCI points with their exceptional performances.
Norway-based Kenny ‘YaYa’ Cordner netted a second-half double after an opening goal from Kayla Taylor saw T&T Women ended their Caribbean Football Union Final Round Qualifiers to the Concacaf Final Round on a high after a 3-0 victory over Bermuda in Kingston, Jamaica, yesterday.
Following Friday’s shock 4-1 loss to Jamaica after leading 1-0 deep into the second-half at Independence Park (National Stadium), the ‘Women Warriors’ were eager to end on a positive note and got off to a great start when Taylor scored for the fourth straight match, and her tournament-high seventh goal in the 12th minute.
However, the Soca Princesses without injured captain Tasha St Louis in the line-up struggled to add to their tally and only had the one goal to show at the half.
Twelve minutes after the restart, Cordner doubled the lead and three minutes from full-time she added another to end with three goals in as many matches after missing T&T’s opener, a 3-2 win over Cuba, in which Taylor netted a hat-trick.
The win lifted the Anton Corneal-coached team to nine points from four matches, level with Jamaica which came up against third-placed Cuba (six points) in last night’s second encounter.
Despite being dethroned as CFU champions, and suffering its heaviest defeat to a regional rival, T&T is assured of qualification to the eight-team Concacaf Final Round along with Jamaica and Cuba where they will join the trio of the USA, Canada and Mexico, the top three ranked teams in Concacaf who were automatic qualifiers to the final round of eight-teams as well as Central American duo, Costa Rica and Panama.
USA will welcome the region’s top women’s national teams for the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship, which will crown a regional champion and qualify three teams directly for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, plus the fourth-place finisher to an Inter-Continental Playoff.
The Concacaf Women’s Championship is scheduled to be played October 4-17, 2018 in Texas.
P W D L GF GA Pts
1. Jamaica 3 3 0 0 17 1 9
2. T&T 4 3 0 1 12 6 9
3. Cuba 3 2 0 1 11 3 6
4. Bermuda 4 1 0 3 5 9 3
5. Antigua & Barbuda 4 0 0 4 0 26 0
Coaching a team or individual athletes of any kind is one of the most demanding and rewarding jobs someone will ever attempt. Along the way, the individual will experience a wide range of emotions from exasperation to exhilaration and everything in between.
Beyond the highs and lows from game to game and season to season, you will have the opportunity to play an influential role in the development of your players, both athletically and in their “off the field” lives as well. Many of the lessons you teach your players will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
The level of coaches ranges from the those who hold the high-end positions, such as the national team’s head coach for a particular sport, football, cricket and so on.
You have individual athlete coaches, then you get down the club levels, amateur, grassroots and we can go on.
You also have the assistant coaches who also play a crucial supporting role. Today we’ll take a look at the influence of coaches particularly outside of the elite level.
The coach is arguably a very important person influencing the general sports experience for youths. The coach’s organisation, facilitation and behaviour in practice sessions and competition has been shown to influence athletes’ motivation to participate.
Coaches may positively affect individuals’ abilities, beliefs and enjoyment, and induce a desire for challenging and mastery experiences. It has even been suggested that the coach may enhance youths’ personal development and life skills. On the other hand, coaches have the potential to induce anxiety and burnout in athletes and ultimately drop out from the sport.
Here in T&T, there has been a belief that once you’re in sporting gear and you’re either put there by an influential person, hand-picked or just coming into an environment with some sort of sporting background, that this qualifies one to be a coach.
This has gone on for years and while some may have genuinely brought something of worth to the cause, it simply is not the way.
The T&T Football Association (TTFA) embarked on a campaign a few years back to certify coaches nationwide through its coach education programme.
The intention has been to get coaches at every level from senior to grassroots and youth to be educated and entered into a database. Similar campaigns have been carried out by the cricket board and T&T
Olympic Committee (TTOC) as well as other sporting organisations. This approach is critical towards overall development.
Good coaches take many different forms. It is said that a perfect coaching model is hard to come by. Just like many great players come equipped with different sets of abilities and attributes, many great coaches have used very different styles and approaches to find equal measures of success.
The coaches’ influence has been attributed, in part, to the motivational climate they create through the transfer of attitudes and values, as well as their recognition and evaluations, and is linked to the athletes’ learning and performance. Therefore, coaches play a critical role in either hindering or strengthening an athlete’s involvement in and motivation for sports.
Parents and individual athletes need to be educated also on coaching so that they themselves can have a better understanding as to who they are putting their trust in.
It is important that they understand what makes a good coach and a proper system, particularly against an existing background. Just as parents and students are keen on knowing the history and background on the set-up and personnel at secondary schools or colleges, the same applies to when one is looking to join a club or coaching school.
Coaches at any level can also engage in different courses, both face-to-face or online, to improve their capacity and certification without being dependent on their employees or organisations.
The opportunities are much greater than say ten years ago. Seek out information – don’t wait for the “secret to success” to fall into your lap. Develop a network and support structure where possible. Focus on the long-term even when trying to achieve in the short term.
Be willing to share and treat athletes like customers. Push egos aside also. That is another thing that plagues us here. It will serve you better by contributing to the development of other coaches. You may learn from teaching and students are often the best teachers of all.
And remember, look to help each athlete achieve their best, no matter what that level is. Not all athletes want to be a world champion. That, in the long run, will be your contribution towards building a better society.
Shaun Fuentes is a former FIFA Media Officer at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He is also currently a CONCACAF Competitions Media Officer and has travelled extensively because of sport and media over the past eighteen years. He is also a certified media trainer for athletes.
T&T Women Warriors will be hoping to end their Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Final Round Qualifiers to the CONCACAF Final Round on a high when they Bermuda from 4 pm in Kingston, Jamaica today.
On Friday night at Independence Park (National Stadium), the “Women Warriors” suffered their heaviest defeat at the hands of a CFU nation, 4-1 to the “Reggae Girls” to remain on six points after three matches, level with Cuba, and three behind the unbeaten host.
The Bermudans, who hammered Antigua and Barbuda 5-0 in Friday’s opener, have three points and can only qualify among the top with a huge win over the Anton Corneal-coached “Women Warriors”.
Jamaica and Cuba will meet in the tournament’s final match from 7 pm.
Elsewhere, Costa Rica whipped Panama 3-1 to win the Central American qualifiers, with both teams already through to the CONCACAF Final Round where they will join the trio of USA, Canada and Mexico, the top three ranked teams in CONCACAF who were automatic qualifiers to the final round of eight teams.
USA will welcome the region’s top women’s national teams for the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which will crown a regional champion and qualify three teams directly for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, plus the fourth-place finisher to an Inter-Continental Playoff.
The CONCACAF Women’s Championship is scheduled to be played October 4-17, 2018 in Texas.
Teams P W D L F A Pts
Jamaica 3 3 0 0 17 1 9
T&T 3 2 0 1 9 6 6
Cuba 3 2 0 1 11 3 6
Bermuda 3 1 0 2 5 6 3
Antigua 4 0 0 4 0 26 0
T&T’s Priyanka Khellewan retained her Girls Singles Under-13 Division title when the Caribbean Regional Table Tennis Federation Mini and Pre Cadet (U-11 - U-13) Championship ended in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Friday.
In the final, Khellewan outplayed Puerto Rico’s Alanis Reyes 11-8, 13-11, 11-9 to add to her Team bronze and doubles silver with Imani Edwards-Taylor.
When the round-robin phase started on Wednesday, Khellewan topped her Group Three series beating Olivia Peterkin of Jamaica, 11-4, 11-3, 11-7 followed by a win by default against Dominican Republic’s Mia Jimenez.
She then brushed aside Guyana’s Thuraia Thomas in her last-16 encounter in straight sets, before beating another Guyanese Nkechi Mc Crae 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 in the quarterfinals and Daymar Castro of Puerto Rico 6-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8 in the semifinals.
Sheneika Collette, the other T&T player to reach the Girls U-13 main draw, was ousted in the round-of-16 by Guyana’s Gianna Lewis, 11-9, 1-11, 7-11, 8-11.
Collette qualified to the knockout phase as a second place finisher in her Group Two qualifiers courtesy a win over Arismel Duran of the host country 13-11, 11-5, 11-5 and a loss to Jamaican Kelsey Davidson, 7-11, 6-11, 6-11.
Edwards-Taylor was unlucky in Group Seven after she ended in a three-way tie with Gianna Lewis of Jamaica and Puerto Rico’s Idalis Torres, with 2-1 records, only to end third by virtue of point co-efficient ratio.
Edwards-Taylor won against Lewis 11-13, 12-10, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9 and hometown player, Valerin Hernandez, 13-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6 but fell to Torres, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 3-11, 8-11.
T&T’s other girls’ entrant Rebekah Sterling failed to qualify from Group Four after she was outplayed by Dominican Republic’s Cinthia Pena 8-11, 8-11, 9-11 and Guyana’s Nkechi Mc Crae, 4-11, 1-11, 5-11.
In the U-13 Boys Singles, T&T’s Jalen Kerr got bronze after a semifinal loss to Puerto Rican, Jose Nieves 11-13, 10-12, 13-15, 7-11. This after Kerr brushed aside Curacao’s Ayush Panka 11-1, 11-2, 11-2; Guyana’s Krystian Sahadeo 12-10, 14-12, 11-6 and Dominican Republic’s Anderson Acevedo 11-4, 11-4, 14-12, to top Group Three.
He then beat Puerto Rico’s John Marrero 11-5, 11-7, 13-11 and Oswaldy Reyes of Dominican Republic, 11-5, 11-6, 2-11, 7-11, 11-8 in his first two knockout encounters.
Jamalli Mauge got as far as the quarterfinals before he went under to Nieves 4-11, 6-11, 5-11.
In the round-robin stage, Mauge qualified second best in Group One after he went under to Dominican Republic’s Eduardo Darley 2-11, 6-11, 4-11 by beat St Lucian Nate John, 11-2, 11-3, 7-11, 11-3. He then rallied past Kaysan Ninvalle of Guyana 11-7, 11-6, 13-15, 11-4 in the round-of-16 before his last-eight loss.
Nicholas O’Young was the other T&T player to reach the U-13 Boys knockout phase but he was ousted by Christopher Rodriguez of Dominican Republic, 11-5 10-12, 3-11, 8-11.
This after O’Young outclassed Curacao’s Yazir Anthony 11-6, 11-2, 11-4; St Lucian Sanell Bernard 5-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6, and Jamaica’s Andre Richardson 12-10, 11-5, 11-5, in Group Seven.
However, in Group Eight, Samuel Humphreys went winless, losing to Dominican Republic’s Marcos Tavares, 7-11, 5-11, 3-11; St Lucian Jelanie Dusauzay, 9-11, 8-11, 4-11; and Puerto Rican, Yomar Carrillo, 6-11, 7-11, 7-11.
Fraser beaten in U-11 Girls quarters
Chloe Fraser had the best showing in the U-11 Singles for T&T as she reached the last eight of the girls’ competition before being defeated.
Fraser was impressive in her Group Four qualifiers, beating Puerto Rico’s Danelys Cruz 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 and Dominican Republic Ceceli Polanco 7-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-9, 11-4.
She then whipped host player Mileisy Brioso 11-5, 11-8, 11-4 in the last-16 but was then stopped by another hometown player, Arianna Estrella 8-11, 11-5, 7-11, 9-11.
In Group Eight, Ashlea Mohammed, who won a double bronze with Fraser, was just edged out for a spot in the knockout main draw by points co-efficient after she ended with a 1-1 record the same as opponents, Valentina Davila of Puerto Rico and Larimar Hernandez of Dominican Republic.
Valentina defeated Mohammed 7-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9 but then went under to Hernandez 7-11, 11-8, 10-12, 13-15 while Mohammed overcame Hernandez, 11-4, 12-10, 7-11, 6-11, 11-7.
In Group Three round-robin play, T&T’s Llyanna Boodhan was beaten in both her matches, 4-11, 6-11, 5-11 by Puerto Rico’s Liara Rivera and 4-11, 5-11, 6-11 versus Dominican Republic’s Milesisy Brioso.
Shreya Maraj was also blanked in Group Five, losing to Jasmine Bilinghi of Guyana 7-11, 5-11, 9-11 and Dominican Republic’s Carolina Sosa 5-11, 7-11, 2-11.
The U-11 boys trio of Sekel Mc Intosh, Bruce Dillon and Gabriel John all fell at the last-16 hurdle.
Dillon was beaten by Jamaican Azizi Johnson 6-11, 4-11, 3-11; Mc Intosh went under to Puerto Rican, 10-12, 2-11, 8-11; and John fell to Dominican Republic’s Ramon Vila 7-11, 3-11, 5-11.
Skipper Dwayne Bravo dug the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) out of a hole and into a total of 199/4 to which the St Kitts Patriots replied with 153/8 in their latest Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 (T20) clash at Warner Park in St Kitts, last night.
With the 46-run win, TKR storms right back to the top of the standings with ten points from seven matches. Guyana Amazon Warriors also have ten points but TKR has the better net run rate.
The fans here drinking their “goat water” yesterday morning were speaking confidently of a Patriots win, especially after they barked loudly in the TKR backyard earlier in the tournament to defeat them.
An hour and 15 minutes into the match, they were on top and celebrating in grand style as the home team had stifled the visitors through disciplined bowling and a slow tack.
Enter Bravo in the 16th over and the match changed decisively. Coming to the crease with the score at 133/4 with four overs to go, the elder Bravo created a CPL record by becoming the first batsman to hit five sixes in an over.
The hapless bowler was Alzari Joseph who at that time had bowled brilliantly with 2/13 off three overs. He would end with the unflattering figures of 2/43 off four, as Bravo slammed him for five successive sixes in the 19th over.
Bravo ended with a brutal 37 not out off 11 balls in a remarkable hitting display. The innings of the most consistent TKR player Colin Munro of 76 not out, took backstage.
The appetite for the Bravo main course came from his brother Darren who smacked two successive sixes in 18 before his brother came in.
Munro was the glue that held the innings together as he came in after the now usual loss of Sunil Narine.
He lost the off-colour Chris Lynn soon after before fellow New Zealander Brendan McCullum joined him to stage the recovery.
The two added 78 runs for the third wicket to bring the TKR back into the contest.
However, the going was not at the usual rapid rate and it required a special effort from the “champion” to give them their unassailable total. Munroe’s 76 not out came off 50 balls and included three fours and five sixes.
McCullum contributed 35 off 33 balls with two fours and two sixes.
When Patriots went in to bat, TKR started the attack up front with mystery spinner Narine, given his history with the world boss.
Narine kept him quiet but it was the young raw pace of Anderson Phillip who delivered the big blow. He had Gayle edging to Ramdin for nine.
Trinidadian Evin Lewis finally found form, hitting 52 off 37 balls but Phillip accounted for him as well as Brandon King later on to dismantle the batting.
Fawad Ahmed was also excellent on the night taking 2/28, while Muhammad Ali Khan snared his 11th wicket of the campaign to ensure the win.
TKR vs Patriots
S Narine c Joseph b Brathwaite 6
C Lynn b Joseph 18
C Munro Not out 76
B McCullum b Joseph 35
D Bravo c Mahmudullah b Cottrell 18
D Bravo not out 37
Total for 4 wkts: 199
Fall of wkts:10, 34,112, 133,
Bowling: S Cottrell 4-0-30-1, C Brathwaite 4-0-40-1, A Joseph 4-0-43-2, B Cutting 4-0-35-0, Anton Devcich 2-0-20-0. Mahmudullah 2-0-20-0.
C Gayle c Ramdin b Phillip 9
E Lewis lbw Phillip 52
HE van Dussen b Fawad 1
D Thomas c Ramdin b Ali Khan 23
A Devich c Bravo b Fawad 7
B Cutting run out 9
C Brathwaite c Phillip b Bravo 21
B King c Narine b Phillip 7
Mahmadullah not out 2
A Joseph not out 4
Total for 8 wkts: 153
Fall of wkts: 22, 51, 88, 97, 115, 121, 138, 150.
Bowling: Ali Khan 4-0-32-1, S Narine 4-0-22-0, A Phillip 4-0-40-3, F Ahmed 4-0-28-2, D Bravo 4-0-26-1.
Result: TKR won by 46 runs.
Player of the match: Colin Munro.