Govt finds lands for ex-Petrotrin workers

Gov­ern­ment has iden­ti­fied some of Petrotrin's lands in the South for de­vel­op­ment and trans­fer of own­er­ship to for­mer Petrotrin work­ers, Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley an­nounced yes­ter­day.

The land of­fer is the lat­est con­ces­sion Gov­ern­ment is giv­ing for­mer work­ers fol­low­ing the No­vem­ber 30 ces­sa­tion of Petrotrin op­er­a­tions, clo­sure of its re­fin­ery and start-up of re­struc­tured en­ti­ties on De­cem­ber 1.

Re­ply­ing in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day to Op­po­si­tion queries on what would be done to help work­ers, Row­ley not­ed the $2.7 bil­lion pay­out to work­ers, tax-free con­ces­sions on ben­e­fits up to $500,000 and oth­er de­vel­op­ments.

He said Petrotrin is one of the largest en­ti­ties with state land and Gov­ern­ment was mak­ing por­tions of those lands (all over the south-west and south­ern penin­su­la) "....iden­ti­fied for de­vel­op­ment for trans­fer in own­er­ship to Petrotrin work­ers who can ben­e­fit from such."

Row­ley said he'll make a state­ment in Par­lia­ment on that soon. He said Gov­ern­ment's so­cial sup­port sys­tems are fo­cus­ing ex­ces­sive­ly on south­ern ar­eas to deal with hard­ships oc­cur­ring, as Gov­ern­ment knew those ar­eas would be hit by the Petrotrin changes.

But even as Gov­ern­ment was putting mon­ey in to help those in dis­tress, he added, some in the com­mu­ni­ty were try­ing to "get more than their fair share."

Re­port­ing on the re­cent Cari­com sum­mit on the Sin­gle Mar­ket and the Econ­o­my (CSME), Row­ley de­tailed plans to bring new im­pe­tus to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the CSME which mem­ber states will move to­wards ful­ly by 2021 - and for which T&T will have to make leg­isla­tive changes to al­low Cari­com na­tion­als cer­tain rights and ben­e­fits here.

He said T&T would be re­quired to un­der­take a com­pre­hen­sive re­view of the rel­e­vant leg­isla­tive (Im­mi­gra­tion Caribbean Com­mu­ni­ty Skilled Na­tion­al Act) and ad­min­is­tra­tive frame­works gov­ern­ing the en­try and stay of Cari­com na­tion­als, as well as ben­e­fits to be ac­cord­ed to them.

The amend­ments will have to cater to the ex­pand­ed cat­e­gories of skilled Cari­com na­tion­als - re­cent­ly ex­pand­ed to in­clude se­cu­ri­ty guards, beau­ti­cians, bar­bers and agri­cul­tur­al work­ers - the Recog­ni­tion of Skills Cer­tifi­cates is­sued by oth­er Cari­com Mem­ber States; and au­tho­ri­sa­tion of the ben­e­fits to be ex­tend­ed to spous­es and de­pen­dents of Skills Cer­tifi­cate hold­ers as out­lined in Cari­com's pro­to­cols on Con­tin­gent Rights.

He said lead­ers al­so signed an agree­ment on a Cari­com Ar­rest War­rant Treaty. This es­tab­lish­es with­in Cari­com a sys­tem of ar­rest and sur­ren­der of re­quest­ed per­sons for the pur­pos­es of con­duct­ing a crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion for an ap­plic­a­ble of­fence; or ex­e­cut­ing a cus­to­di­al sen­tence where the re­quest­ed per­sons have fled from jus­tice af­ter be­ing sen­tenced for an ap­plic­a­ble of­fence.

It was al­so agreed that T&T host Car­ifes­ta XIV dur­ing Au­gust 16-25, 2019.

Lead­ers al­so agreed on a Mul­ti-lat­er­al Air Ser­vices Agree­ment al­low­ing any Cari­com state that does not have a na­tion­al air­line the right to des­ig­nate an­oth­er Cari­com state air­line to op­er­ate on its be­half.

Reporter: Gail Alexander

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