Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 6th 2017 Contents BG6 | NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt APRIL 6 • 2017
The Public Service Commission has, on the
advice of Cabinet, re-appointed Selwyn
Lashley as Permanent Secretary at the
Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries.
This was confirmed by Minister in the
Office of the Prime Minister and Minister
of Legal Affairs Stuart Young on Tuesday. Young said the
decision was taken because the Government felt the crucial
state of the energy sector required Lashley's experience and
Lashley turned 60 more than two weeks ago and when
he proceeded on pre-retirement leave, the ministry went
almost two weeks with neither a Permanent Secretary nor a
deputy Permanent Secretary while its substantive minister
was ill and off the job.
Young explained that the energy sector was dealing with
major challenges and that Lashley's tenure at the helm had
been extended for a year. He said there were some "young
people in the ministry who will be trained over the next year
to take over from Lashley."
This comes at a time when the country is facing a financial
crisis brought on by lower energy prices and reduced pro-
duction of its main export commodities, oil and natural gas.
The situation has also resulted in the National Gas Company
facing close to $4 billion in lawsuits for not providing the gas
it promised to downstream companies and a general unease
in the energy sector at the pace of government's decision
Young pointed to section 15 of the Public Service regula-
tions which allows someone to stay on in a substantive role
in the public service if their services are considered crucial.
Section 15 of the Civil Service Regulations states: "A
pensioner may, with the approval of the Prime Minister,
be re-employed in a public office on contract, if it is estab-
lished to the satisfaction of the appropriate Commission
a) that the pensioner is in possession of essential experi-
ence or technical qualification which makes him particularly
useful to the specific ministry or department
b) that it is not possible to fill the particular post by the
promotion of a suitable officer or by a new appointment."
Section 15 (2) requires the Director of Personnel Admin-
istration to report the matter to the Chief Personnel Officer
(CPO) before making a recommendation to the Public Service
Commission. The CPO is required to consult with the ap-
propriate recognised association and if there is a disagree-
ment, "a dispute shall be deemed to exist and the provision
of sections 18 and 20 of the Civil Service Act shall apply.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has in the past railed
against the extension of public officers' time in the service
beyond retirement and has refused to buy out leave.
However, last year Lashley's and former PS Heidi Wong's
leave was bought out by the government and still nothing
appears to have been put in place for their succession.
Wong who was also a permanent secretary but junior at the
Ministry to Lashley has also been brought back, this time as
a consultant according to Young. Wong was the former head
of contracts at the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries.
Almost two years ago, the Business Guardian carried a
story warning of this very situation of the top public officers
in the Ministry of Energy retiring all at the same time and
the need for succession planning. Then Minister of Energy,
Kevin Ramnarine, assured that measures would be put in
place but the ministry is now faced with the very scenario.
Lashley was the ministry's chief technical officer before
being elevated to Permanent Secretary. Wong was the former
head of commercial evaluation at the ministry. The present
chief technical officer at the ministry, Richard Jeremy, is
due to retire in May.
There are only three other officials in the energy minis-
try who are now in middle management and who are being
groomed for leadership. They are Monty Beharry, Penelope
Bradshaw-Niles and Azizah Baksh.
State-owned Petrotrin will, in April, seek to
pre-qualify contractors for the completion
of construction of its ultra low sulphur diesel
(ULSD) plant at its Pointe--a-Pierre refinery.
This was revealed by its vice president, re-
fining and marketing, Astor Harris, who told
Business Guardian the company will issue
Invitations To Bid documents by the end of
April with the aim of having the plant completed by the first
quarter of 2020.
In an interview at Petrotrin's Pointe-a-Pierre headquarters,
Harris said: "We are preparing the packages which is scheduled
to be issued in April, to pre-qualified engineering procurement
and construction (EPC) contractors."
It was in November 2009 that Petrotrin awarded EPC con-
tracts to Samsung Engineering Co, Ltd and Samsung Engineer-
ing Trinidad Co Ltd to build the 40,000 barrels per day ULSD
plant but, in late 2013 during the pre-commissioning stage,
work was halted in order to address certain issues regarding
the design and construction of the plant.
It was discovered that there were structural design and
seismic code non-compliances and there was a main beam
failure. The company has reportedly spent US$500 million on
the plant thus far.
A subsequent engineering study determined a way forward
for the completion of the plant and it is on this basis that pro-
spective EPC contractors will be invited to bid.
The ULSD plant forms part of Petrotrin's clean fuels upgrade
programme. Once commissioned, the plant is expected to meet
stringent new diesel quality specifications for lower sulphur
levels, thereby increasing Petrotrin's potential for competing
on the regional and international markets. This would give the
oil company access to new and increased business, said Harris.
He noted that this plant continues to be critical in the com-
pany's continuing efforts to improve the profitability of the
In addition, Harris indicated that upon completion of the
plant, the company will also be in a position to reduce the cost
of its imported crude and improve the value of the products
made by the company. It should be noted that this year, Petro-
trin marks 100 years of refinery operations at the Pointe-a-
Harris said the plant will allow the refinery to improve its
Nelson Complexity Index from between 7 and 8 to 9.
"Improving our Nelson Complexity Factor to around 9, really
positions the company in a good place in terms of our ability to
utilise crude feedstock and produce products of high quality as
the output. This still gives the company flexibility to manip-
ulate the crude diet, so the cost of sales would be lower as we
will be able to access cheaper raw materials and still produce
a higher quality product."
Harris said that the construction of the ULSD plant will lead
to an estimated additional US$2.2 million to US$3.5 million
per month earned from sales of the product.
Links Archive April 5th 2017 April 7th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page