Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 25th 2014 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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Thursday, September 25, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Government could face a major legal bat-
tle and risk to the country s credit ratings
if it fails to sell its 56 per cent stake in
Methanol Holdings Trinidad Limited to
Proman Holdings, through its consortium
Consolidated Energy Ltd (CEL).
This is the view of the lawyers for the
German company in an opinion prepared
for the company, a copy of which was
obtained by the T&T Guardian.
In the opinion the lawyers quoted from a
story carried in the T&T Guardian in which
Finance Minister Larry Howai was reported
to have said the government had "options"
following the ruling of the International Court
of Arbitration that CL Financial's 56.53 per
cent shareholding in (MHTL) has been valued
at US$1.175 billion and CL Financial now has
to offer the shares for sale for this sum in
two tranches to its minority shareholder,
Consolidated Energy Ltd (CEL.
The lawyers said for Howai and the Central
Bank to have any notions that they have
options in the matter is to gravely misread
their obligations under various treaties and
if they refuse to abide by the arbitration Pro-
man will trigger a number of actions.
The legal opinion read: "Given the nature
of a partial award and order under ICC rules,
a failure of T&T, and specifically the CBTT,
to consent to the sale would constitute a
violation of the New York convention, and
would most likely be interpreted as such by
all ratings agencies and governments.
"It would, if properly played by us, have
enormous and immediate impact on foreign
investment, debt ratings and country risk
for T&T as it is their most important inter-
national trade obligation regarding dispute
The legal opinion given to Proman also
outlines the ways in which they can hurt
this country's ability to borrow on the inter-
national market and increase the cost of bor-
rowing and then use that as leverage in future
The document read: "The real cost of this
action in violating the NY Convention for
T&T would be the impact on foreign invest-
ment, new treaties and T&T's financing costs.
In my view, these immediate impacts on
T&T will dwarf what T&T would eventually
owe to us as compensation.
"So when evaluating the parts of the rem-
edy that may take some time, we should
recognize that what should concern our
opponents (if a negotiation ensued) are the
immediate impacts on T&T's ability to raise
capital at the government and business level.
What should concern us is knowing the
details of T&T's obligations and the conse-
quences of breach, and using that to leverage
an immediate solution."
They also raised the spectre of taking the
government to the local courts and said this
may not be the best option since they would
be better served by pursuing the action in
the UK or in Germany.
"Moreover, there are riskier options that
we could pursue in T&T, if there is an appetite
for that, to include action against the CBTT
to force consent to the sale. These are only
risky in that I fear once T&T gets a toehold
here of jurisdiction, we may get conflicting
court paths. But, setting that aside, a refusal
by the CBTT to consent would be contrary
to T&T law as well because the Central Bank
Act mandates a sale pursuant to the Tribunal's
order in these circumstances and/or mandates
the CBTT's relinquishment of control over
Clico/CLF at this time. "
In the end thePromans lawyers advised
that their next move should be to go to the
tribunal and seek immediate interim measures
to include voting right modification to put
CEL in control and also a suspension of div-
idends to Clico/CLF, and/or placing the 56
per cent dividends into escrow.
President Anthony Carmona yesterday
reminded the country s political parties of their
commitment, under the recently signed Code of
Ethical Political Conduct to stop "candidates and
their supporters from engaging in character
assassination, spreading of false rumours and
gossip, and ensuring that persons are true to
In his Republic Day address to the nation yes-
terday evening, President Carmona said the Cude,
which was developed by a committee of civil
society representatives chaired by Roman Catholic
Archbishop Joseph Harris, "is an outward display
of our burgeoning political maturity."
"It may do the Members of Parliament well to
recall this hallowed objective in the cut and thrust
of their Parliamentary discourse," he said.
The President said T&T is now fully aware that
violence in one part of the globe touches us all.
"In the 1988 Lockerbie bombing of Panam Flight
103, Anthony Selwyn Swan of Point Fortin, on
his way back to university, perished. In the West-
gate incident in Kenya just over a year ago, Ravi
Ramrattan, a Presidential Medal winner from
Cunupia, and a growing light of hope, also perished.
"But for timely circumstance, a citizen of
Trinidad and Tobago would have been on the
doomed Malaysian Airlines flight shot down over
Ukraine. We must therefore not lull ourselves into
a false sense of security thinking that it cannot
happen here. Lest we forget, it can and it has,"
President Carmona said he wantes to provide
access to the corridors of power to all citizens.
"There is a misconception that you have to
know somebody to be heard or to get anything.
This has to stop," he said.
"There are those who think they are entitled
because of influence, affluence or political affil-
iation, their last name, job, family connections,
acquaintances and friends. This misguided way
of doing things has excluded vast sections of our
citizens from opportunities to become involved
The President also said: "Lines of succession
and leadership must be created. Young people
want to make a difference but they are generally
not afforded the opportunity. It is for this reason
that the Office of The President holds the firm
view that the era of the super-technocrat is over
and this is reflected in the appointments by The
President in keeping with his Constitutional powers.
"As a result, no one person will be on more
than one President-appointed Commission or
Board unless exceptional circumstances exist (and
none has been found so far) or by virtue of ex
oficio appointment. This equally applies to sen-
atorial appointments. The philosophy of indis-
pensability, rampant in governmental and state
structures, has no place in progressive governance."
President Carmona expressed concern about a
sense of entitlement born out of dependency that
is threatening the society. He said this dependency
is not unique to any one sector of society but "is
the jockey riding the economy in all sectors."
He added: "When the only pie that exists to be
shared is from the government, then it is no wonder
that the crab in the barrel' syndrome takes over.
The world is full of pies but to access them we
have to be innovative and competitive, character-
istics which seem to be elusive in this nation of
The President also said: "We have a democratic
system of governance which is rooted in the belief
of government by the people, of the people, for
the people. There is a quiet power which exists
and which is held in the hands of the people. As
a people we are masters of our destiny."
MPs to follow
code of conduct
German firm tells Government:
shares or else
Orisha devotees make offerings to their diety Olukun during their Festival for the Ocean---the Olokun Festival or Ase Odun Olokun, at Englishman's
Bay, Tobago. During the celebrations tribute was paid to the late Arthur NR Robinson, former President of T&T. PHOTO: EDISON BOODOOSINGH
FESTIVAL FOR THE OCEAN
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