It is Day Seven of Hurricane A&V: a low pressure weather system which has struck Trinidad and Tobago with little warning and savage repercussions after Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar read from a leaked Petrotrin audit report.
In its wake, Mr Live Wire reports, is mayhem and confusion: Tanty Kamla fraid to talk for fear of legal reprisal, the A&V Oil and Gas compound and its environs declared the most dangerous place for practising journalists outside of North Korea and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley steadfastly refusing to evacuate from his initial position—even as the swirling waters rise around him.
Keithos admitted during the week that he called his buddy Haniff “Nazim” Baksh to enquire about allegations that Baksh’s A&V Drilling Company fraudulently overstated crude oil production by over 400,000 barrels and a cost of around US$12 million.
The Prime Minister had good news to report from their conversation.
“He said [to me] he doesn’t know [about it].”
As far as solid investigative work goes, Detective Rowley can clearly give acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams a run for his money.
Was it appropriate, a reporter wanted to know, that the Prime Minister should call someone at the centre of a potential fraud investigation—not to mention make a public show of support for that person?
“Of course it is appropriate!” Rowley retorted. “I couldn’t wait to call him to find out what this is all about… If I have a friend and I am accused in that way and the friend doesn’t reach out to me to find out what is going on, I would look to him kind of funny.
“If a person is my friend, I don’t deny or disown a friend because an allegation is made against them… Being a friend means something. I am not of that mettle.”
Somewhere, besieged Minister of Works and Transport, PNM deputy political leader and financier and Rowley’s BFF Rohan Sinanan probably breathed a “Thank the Lord” at their bae’s belligerent stance.
Somewhere else, Marlene McDonald steupsed.
Remarkably—blind to the growing disaffection with his government’s performance and his leadership—Keithos was still enjoying his own cool-aid on Thursday night, when he discussed the matter further.
“No person in Trinidad and Tobago, whether you are PNM or not, you will find no protection or solace at the PNM’s doorsteps,” said the Prime Minister. “We are protecting no one with corrupt action whether you are friend or foe.”
In the next breath, Rowley said he saw no reason to suspend PNM Senator Allyson Baksh—the daughter of the A&V owner—as a result of the furore since she had no connection to the investigation.
Baksh, according to information unearthed last week by the Trinidad Express, is an A&V director and secretary and holds the same number of shares as her father.
Meanwhile, former PNM candidate Vidya Deokiesingh, who got an inglorious shout-out in the Petrotrin Audit Report for his role in the scandal, remains a member of a State board—although Rowley suggested that, with notably un-Burke-like speed, he “expects that resignation to come in short order.”
Rowley did not suggest any concerns about the competence of PNM chairman and Minister of Energy and Energy Industries Franklin Khan although, just four months ago, Khan singled out A&V for praise in Parliament.
“I want to go on record and today praise one company that has done tremendously well […] called A&V Drilling based in Penal,” said Khan, on 15 May 2017. “They took the Catshill Field […] making 130 barrels of oil per day. You know what is A&V drilling production in Catshill now? Four thousand barrels per day!”
Can the public feel confident that the Ministry of Energy will treat the Petrotrin Audit report as seriously as it deserves with Khan as line minister?
As is the case with Sinanan and the Cabo Star, are government probes into A&V compromised owing to the close relationship shared by the Prime Minister and the persons close to the centre of the investigation?
Whatever happens next, one can safely assume that the platform of moral superiority the Prime Minister always seems to imagine himself standing upon is now lower than Colm Imbert doing the limbo.
The A&V fiasco was deplorable enough before Guardian photographer Kristian De Silva—not to be confused with the Opposition Leader’s neighbour and care-giver, Kristyan—was assaulted by two unidentified men while standing along Nazim Avenue, San Francique, taking pictures of the A&V Oil and Gas Ltd compound.
De Silva was allegedly beaten about the head while his camera was smashed and his glasses deliberately crushed.
“While everything was happening, I said ‘Sir, I’m from the Guardian newspaper,” said De Silva, “and he said ‘F… the media.”
Wired868 cannot confirm whether the two stink and dutty assailants, who tried to buss De Silva’s head, are consultants on Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi’s Cybercrime Bill.
But Mr Live Wire has a sneaking suspicion that, if a reporter was attacked while working outside of “Godfather” Burke’s residence, all now the whole of Sea Lots would be waiting for someone to stand bail.
De Silva, according to the Express, is the third media worker to be assaulted outside the A&V compound this week, which should surely be enough for the company to be declared a ‘hot spot’ and its management—including Rowley’s bae, Nazim, and Senator Baksh—detained under the anti-gang legislation.
It is left to be seen if the media will give these violent attacks on its workers the same prominence as it did the Prime Minister’s view on “jamettry”—one of several red herrings tossed out by the Rottweiler-in-chief, including a reference to Kamla’s own dodgy landlords as PM and an invitation to discuss whether, despite hints to the contrary by the Opposition, he did in fact have friends of Indian ethnicity.
Live Wire cannot confirm that soca star Denise Belfon—the one ‘jamettry’ expert who was not given a chance to contribute to the national discussion—told friends: “I know more than a thing or two about jamettes… But Kamla and Keithos? Dem two could write a book on the subject!”
Oil Workers Trade Union (OWTU) leader Ancel Roget, who was uncharacteristically quiet last week, is believed to be feverishly and meticulously working on the sums highlighted by the Audit Report.
Considering Roget’s difficulty in subtracting one from one hundred percent, this might take a while…
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AG follow the money
Some are such a bunch of deceitful hypocrites we fail to really see and acknowledge truths when it is looking us in the eye. Who among would not call a friend to find out if what we are hearing is true or what is going on. Liars who prefer to believe a lie than the truth. God help us because so many sre benefitting from these scandals ‘so call big shots or VIPs’ some are paralized into complacency or blind allegiance. Smdh
No one’s denying their production capacity, but the tanks at PaP arent able to hold the amt on the dockets. Anyway, hope Lasana going on the tour..we need first hand account
Exactly @capacity but that took 6 mths to trigger response?
And good luck Lasana Liburd, hope he have his press pass on display eh!
Take a bow Sachin Ranjitsingh and sit in the teacher’s chair.
Yup. You should look at it. Reporter called a Marlon (Editor?) to call the police. Marlon responded for him to call.
I figure under normal circumstances, the reporter would know to call for himself, so it should have been an out of the ordinary circumstance.
And it did not appear he was on the compound but on the road.
So if it was a bandit or trespasser, as the company wants us to believe, is it the norm to attack by pelting beer bottles at their vehicle?
Btw, why does Petrotrin license out the operations of these fields?
They own fields but do not directly conduct drilling. The lease is for drillers to produce oil and enter it via gathering stations and pipelines to the national grid for refinery.
Petrotrin leases out fields that are deemed to be too risky (financially) to operate. There is an agreement with the contractors for incremental production over a stipulated period. So basically, the contractors take the risks to operate the field and Petrotrin pays them for whatever production they muster up. A win win for both Petrotrin and the contractor.
I understand all of that. I was asking why petrotrin doesn’t just drill all of its own fields instead of outsourcing.
Chabeth Haynes any drilling and workover company can bid for a drilling round for a field, especially if Petrotrin is not the sole proprietor of the block. Not sure it applies here. This is a ministry controlled system.
Chabeth Haynes, I have the same question. After almost 100 years in the industry, our only oil company does not have the requisite skills in all areas?
The way I see it, that’s just another avenue to facilitate redistribution of revenue (just like state enterprises and special purpose bodies).
Which part of the fact that the oil industry is set up to be as confusing as possible, allyuh don’t understand? That it has been organised, over centuries for the big players and the corrupt to extract maximum profits in the most non transparent manner?
A& V, i sure know who is your advisor? Misprint? Misquote? Misunderstood. Misstep ? It wasnt me? I making myself a victim? I pulling out the race card & i blame kamla?…… if you see how they beating them journalist down in NAZIM Square, some ah dem could read and spell but they cyah pronounce at all……. and as yuh say “AIL” Is licks by the “POLICE” ….LAW? BLOW BOY…..
Marvin Boi watching Trump a Lil too much me thinks.
I meant ma boi Trumping and following suit.
This is the actual front page of the Express, btw.
And there is a video on TV6 that stated there were 3 incidents.
Joel Riley that is the question!
And billions disappearing, we eh like it so
So how long have they been possibly doing this?
Saw they got a contract since 2009.
How long is anyone’s guess, but I guess the dramatic increase may have raised red flag.
One wonders about the system of checks and balances in all areas.
Two points i have to make
1. In a 2 party system, you financially support both sides, thus your contract(s) fixed, no matter who gets into power.
2. We seem to be devoid of an understanding of conflict of interest………not the substantive story but how does Senator Baksh be part of the JSC to question Petrotrin when she is the director of a company that has a contract with them………WTF!
Yes, both valid points, but conflict is a funny concept eh, in that you could twist it like a balloon to suit your fancy. All a matter of perspective, and at the end of the day, the only collective loser is the people of T&T
Nadeera Supersad, the problem is we as a society have lost our moral compass.
The situation obviously raises questions. Just like the appointments of other office holders who came in with question marks that were not addressed.
Is history repeating itself, didn’t Manning called Calder Heart also. These PNM PM’s like to warm their friends, or is it called “heads-up” .
Good Case to follow
Wonder if he did contribute to the UNC campaign in 2010? Lots of them do this..esp in south. The one I’m alwyas fighting with sounds just like him..but Baksh left out the bit “I am creating employment in the area”
This was so funny. Is he serious?
So much wrong with this whole situation. I’m not even sure how much is sheer incompetence and how much is deliberate. A company took a field that producing 130 barrels and get it to produce about 3000% more oil sounds like magic to a layperson. But to a line minister it just sounded like good work. I’m glad you placed that clip with Ancel Roget at the end though. I needed a good laugh
Wonder if this happened around the time that there was an agreement for increases based on performance?
If.Rowley wants to see what a MALE JAMMETTE looks like tell him look in a Mirror with adequate lighting because He so Firking Black
Comments like yours are partly responsible for where we are as a country. #blackisbeautiful
Kieth brings out the jamette inna meeeeeeeee! Keith brings out the jamette inna meeeeeeee! Oh-oh, oh-oh!!!!
Denise Belfon must be in her glee! That “Jamette” song getting dusted off and making airwaves yet again!!!!!!
This is the most jokey Country in the Caribbean n by extension the world because of the illiterateraces of voters.
…and don’t forget some of the comments.
And if a (former) Sportt board member could have his appointment rescinded, not understanding why Deokiesingh is allowed the courtesy of resigning at his leisure.
The Sportt situation is more than $US12 mil?
Its not as if members of the public are aware of the serious issues befallen to us through years and years of ills done to this nation. We as a people are divided by the teachings of negligent elders and not progressive leaders. Blessed with a fertile land, yet still we import. Blindly follow your leaders without question and Venezuela is imminent. God blessed us with theCoriolis force and gave us stupid thinkers ✌ kudos and mindful thinking of someone who sees the beauty we are capable of, but only gets to witness the plight
“Oil Workers Trade Union (OWTU) leader Ancel Roget, who was uncharacteristically quiet last week, is believed to be feverishly and meticulously working on the sums highlighted by the Audit Report.”
I stayin’ where I is…Jimmy Bain wid a Glock and hard cuff
From 130 bbls/day to 4,000 bbls a day. Over what time frame was the infrastructure put in place to deal with it? Was a CEC required?
Should’ve rung bells right?
Savitri Exactly. And apparently we have a Minister didn’t even know there was a bell to be rung. Then again, we have no idea how far this alleged corruption has penetrated.
From comments I read, the belief is that field is not even capable of that production.
And the tanks cannot hold that amount.
If these statements are true, why did it take at least 6 months to ring a bell?
Doesn’t Petrotrin have a whistleblower policy?
Nerisha no one in Petrotrin would sell out that, or any other story. Things too nice in there, for a company that is in haemorrhage
Exactly, Nadeera Supersad! People never do
Sigh. So, once they may benefit, raising concerns above their pay grade?
Nerisha, who have you ever seen jeopardise their jobs? Everyone seems to be living off the state..quite comfortably. Petrotrin is like the civil service – a job for life
Sigh. Not only job for life, but seems like they do nothing about impropriety.
What happened with escalated pensions?
Worker whose wife ran up bill for transport?
Never mind all the other more well known issues.
Nerisha Mohammed conveniently.
EMA CEC information herein:
I posted it further down the thread this morning but couldn’t tag you Nadeera.
Savitri Maharaj ohhhh Okies!
Luv this piece! Dr. Rowley is clearly not worried about illusions with this one. His plan is realistic why lie about depth of relationship when the press will find out , if anything he learned from the Kamla and Gopaul drama is that it can become a quick sand of a PR disaster
He should be worried about illusions because that’s all politics is… illusion and PR.
You don’t have to deny your relationship with anyone to not call them (as PM) in the midst of allegations of fraud.
No illusions! Political campaigns aren’t run on bake sales and raffles! Truly knowing Dr. Rowley going flip this on Kamla in the budget.
You might be as out of touch with the electorate as the PM if you think “flipping this on Kamla” is going to score him points with anyone who isn’t a diehard PNM supporter.
There is nothing wrong with Rowley calling Baksh at the start, middle or end of an investigation. If Rowley was to call the investigator/s… now THAT would be a matter of concern.
It is problematic in a country where the perception is that politicians exert influence over the police service and where the PM is chair of the security council, a committee on which the CoP sits.
Yes, but the PM isn’t directly involved in the investigation, nor did he contact/attempt to contact anyone involved in it. It is highly unlikely that “the security council” is involved in investigating domestic corruption. Perceptions matter, no argument here, but we need to be more discerning in recognizing smokescreens and b.s. when we see it.
The PM is not directly involved is BS !
Joel what is your proof that the PM is directly involved in investigating fraud in the abstract, and in this AV case specifically?
HE SAID HE CALLED HIM
So…. that means he’s investigating fraud allegations? We’re good here.
Mr Live Wire, If you is not the best connected man in T&T politically, then you is without doubt the luckiest.
How de ass you eh get lock up yet and the key get throw in the Gulf?
And that key would sink down next to the legendary Telco telephone that Dr Williams chucked into the Gulf of Paria nearly four decades ago!
Need some geometry to work this one out.