Good day, former Petrotrin worker. Today marks the end of life as you knew it for the past whatever number of years you worked proudly for Petrotrin. Today, you awake with an emptiness deep in your soul and a lack of clarity about your future.
You are not even assured that the severance package to which you are entitled will be paid. You don’t know when next money will be deposited into your account.
Depending on how you calculate it, you are one of either 3,500 or 5,000 family members who are awake now with nothing to do this morning and several mornings to come. Unofficial statistics suggest that you join another 18,000 persons who have lost their jobs under the leadership of Dr Keith Christopher Rowley.
The most important thing you can do for you and your family is to take time to assess your finances. Really work the number of days to bankruptcy and do it with your significant other.
This can be a frightening task but it will give you a true sense of where you are and what you need to do. It will also help you whip up the courage to have a conversation with your bank, credit union or financial institution and plan for your future.
The only bright light in this equation is that some of you will be employed by Paria and Legacy because there is no other option. The pool of employees for any new company is the local workforce and there are only a few multi-thousand dollar jobs available for expatriates and politically connected locals. But many of you either have to retrain for a new career or learn to survive on a reduced income.
However you chart your future course, you must never forget that the ultimate responsibility for the closure of Petrotrin belongs to the current Prime Minister, Dr Keith Christopher Rowley.
When he is no longer Prime Minister, I shall remember him for three things. Firstly, his lack of accountability to Petrotrin workers and the nation about the future of Petrotrin.
My second memory will be about him paying lip service to holding collaboration as a core value. In his capacity as Leader of the Opposition, he collaborated with the Union and signed a MOU which was quickly abandoned when he became Prime Minister.
My third memory will be of a Prime Minister who talks about transparency but who hides his action ‘under a bushel’. The new companies Paria and Legacy were not conceptualised yesterday; they have been long in the planning. It is just that the roll-out has been sloppy.