Oropouche East MP Roodal Moonilal wants to know if there is third party manipulation of the Oilfield Workers’ Trade Union’s (OWTU) recent acquisition of the Pointe-a-Pierre oil refinery.
In his contribution to the Budget debate yesterday, the Opposition MP raised questions about who facilitated a meeting between CEO of Sunstone Equities John Van Dyke and members of the union.
Last year, Van Dyk sat alongside OWTU president general Ancel Roget at a press conference at the Radisson Hotel in Port-of-Spain as the union launched its first attempt to buy the refinery. At that event, Van Dyke, who was representing Sunstone Equities, described the refinery as “very viable.” Sunstone Equities had also helped the OWTU with its proposals to acquire the refinery following the closure of Petrotrin.
The OWTU was officially announced as buyers of the refinery last month by Minister of Finance Colm Imbert.
However, yesterday, Moonilal said it appeared that Van Dyke was brought to meet with the OWTU concerning the refinery by Vidya Deokiesingh.
“Mr John Van Dyke came to Trinidad to find and be in the company of Mr Vidya Deokiesingh. Mr Vidya Deokiesingh brought him here to have meetings concerning business with stakeholders visiting a contractor in Penal,” Moonilal said.
Deokiesingh, a former Petrotrin employee and People’s National Movement candidate, was named by Moonilal last year during the budget debate. Moonilal alleged that he was a potential benefactor of a 2015 wire transfer sent to a Florida bank account which he claimed was linked to A&V Oil and Gas, the company named in the fake oil scandal.
During his presentation last year, Moonilal named Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley as another direct beneficiary of the transfer. This was denied by Rowley.
However, Moonilal revisited the issue again yesterday, asking why no further public disclosures were made on the matter.
“One year and one week later, where are the findings? Not one—police, Financial Intelligence Bureau, Attorney General—have made any findings public. Not one. Because I made the allegations I had the duty to continue on that matter because you know why I raised the matter. So if they could not investigate, I would investigate,” Moonilal said.
Moonilal said he discovered further details about the transaction, which he once again claimed involved Deokiesingh.
He said based on these swirling allegations, he raised concern that the recent deal involving the OWTU might be tainted.
“We do not want the OWTU to fail, Madame Speaker, we want them to succeed. And I want to tell the OWTU today, do not be conned by this Government,” he said.
Moonilal called on all involved in the acquisition of the refinery to clear the air concerning a meeting between Van Dyke, Roget and Movement for Social Justice leader David Abdulah. He claimed to have a picture of a meeting but did not raise it to be seen in Parliament during his presentation. He also claimed an agreement appeared to be signed during the meeting.
“I call upon the players to indicate to the public, when did this meeting take place? Where did this meeting take place? How this meeting take place, why this meeting take place? What are they signing and could I ask them to confirm if Mr Vidya Deokiesingh took the picture that I have in my hand,” the Oropouche East MP asked.