Gosine: No Crime will Help Investments, Not Dragon

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By Prior Beharry

TEMPORARY Opposition Senator Neil Gosine says that the Dragon Gas deal will not help with getting more investments in Trinidad and Tobago but a reduction in crime will.

He was responding to a statement by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the Energy Conference at the Hyatt on Monday that the Dragon gas deal between T&T and Venezuela will lead to more investment for the country.

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Gosine was speaking on Tuesday in a private motion in the Upper House by Opposition Senator Wade Mark on a private motion on the Dragon Gas deal calling for a detailed account of government’s approach to the project involving entities such as Shell, the National Gas Company, Venezuela and the US Government.

In his maiden contribution, Gosine said, “I heard the honorable prime minister at the Energy Conference yesterday (Monday) say that the Dragon Gas will bring more investments to T&T.

Senator Wade Mark, a member of the Joint Select Committee on State Enterprises. Photo: T&T Parliament

“In my opinion a safe and crime free country will bring investments to T&T.

“BP, the country‚Äôs largest extractor of natural gas, refused to let its premises be used for Carnival because of crime. How can the leader of the government stand up and say that Dragon Gas will bring investments when close to 600 people are murdered every year in T&T.

“So as a gas economy we have gone from a position where Dragon Gas would not affect our Gas supply to ne where we are now thoroughly dependent on Dragon Gas. A reflection on how our gas sector has collapsed.”

Energy Minister Stuart Young was the only government member to speak on the motion.

Minister of Energy and Energy Industries Stuart Young at the press conference at the Diplomatic Centre on January 24, last year. AZP News/Azlan Mohammed

United National Congress (UNC) Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial in her contribution said it was the duty of a responsible opposition to “bring forth concerns and try to obtain information where there may be a lack of clarity.”

She noted that there will be a presidential election in the US this year that could impact on the licence granted for the deal.

Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial. Photo: T&T Parliament

T&T Venezuela have signed a profit-sharing agreement to develop the Dragon Gas Field.

On January 24, 2023, the US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) granted Trinidad and Tobago a licence to get gas from the Dragon Gas Field

The Dragon Gas Field holds about 4.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves and the project will see an agreement among, Trinidad and Tobago Natural Gas Company, PDVSA and Shell as the operator since it has a platform in Trinidad and Tobago waters near the field.

When the vote was taken in the private motion, it ended up with a 15-15 tied with the Senate President Nigel de Freitas saying he has to maintain the status quo and voted “no” with the government members. The motion was therefore defeated.

The Senate comprises 31 members including the president. There are 16 government, nine independent and six opposition senators. When the vote was taken all nine independent senators voted “yes” along with the six opposition senators.

When the 15-15 tie was announced, de Freitas said, “As I’ve indicated on other occasions before, when I’m called upon to give a casting vote, precedence does dictate that the status quo must remain.

He said, “I must vote no in order to maintain the status quo.”

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