Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 13th 2017 Contents JULY 13 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
ENERGY | BG7
Cabinet is today expected to
consider the report into the
operations of state-owned
Petrotrin and make deci-
sions on the future of the
In coming to its decisions, the Cabinet
will have to consider not just the financial
operations of the company but the impor-
tant role it plays in many communities in
According to the EITI 2014/2015 report,
Petrotrin has a history of supporting local
communities and groups and plays an im-
portant role in promoting education, training
and community development.
The report reads, "Petrotrin contributes
to the Treasury, develops indigenous capa-
bilities and ensures human development
within the company and through its many
community investments. To this end, the
company has consistently supported several
groups within the national community to
ensure the sustainability and preservation
of T&T's multifaceted culture and colourful
"In 2014 and 2015, Petrotrin spent
$16,146,994 and $15,295,076 respective-
ly on its CSR programme. Petrotrin's CSR
Programme focuses on: culture, sport,
environment, education and training, and
One such group that Petrotrin helps is the
Marabella Family Crisis Centre.
Established in 1992 following the closure
of the Union Park Race Club, the centre's
original aim was to provide a meal to 15 peo-
ple on Sundays.
Since then, the group has grown into a
non-profit organisation that is now crucial
in helping the poor in Marabella.
Marabella is an important community
to Petrotrin because it is on the company's
It is only the Guaracara River that sep-
arates Petrotrin's Pointe-a-Pierre refinery
from Marabella, a community in which there
are significant pockets of poverty.
CEO and founder Marabella Family Crisis
Centre, Terrence Boissiere, told the Business
Guardian that the centre could not function
if it did not get support from Petrotrin.
He noted that while the company has had
to reduce its financial contribution to the
group over the last three years, it is the or-
ganisational support that is also crucial to
He explained that when the Family Cri-
sis Centre was established, the Union Park
Turf Club was winding down as horse racing
became centralised at the Arima Race Club.
This meant that many people who de-
pended on the Union Club for their "hustle"
lost the opportunity to eek out a living and
hence became dispossessed.
"We tried to fill that void and started with
a meals-on-wheels programme starting with
15 lunches. When we saw the extent of the
poverty and the challenges, it grew to the
point where we were part of the then SHARE
programme. Now, apart from meals, we also
do social intervention and rehabilitation,"
He said the centre is also used by the var-
ious universities for students doing social
work practicum training.
"We are now introducing a hydroponics
programme. Petrotrin gave us the pipes for
the post and we got a sponsor for the wire.
The idea is to introduce the youths to this
type of farming so they may have an oppor-
tunity to learn a skill and, if possible, be em-
powered to eventually enter into their own
agricultural businesses," Boissiere added.
He pointed out that the centre also pro-
vides protection and a roof over the heads for
a few young men who have nowhere else to
go and, in so doing, does its part in helping
deal with the scourge of crime.
Bossierre noted that the centre's football
team has also provided an opportunity for
youths to secure football scholarships in the
United States and named two players who are
today on the national senior men's football
teams; players who started at the centre.
"Things are challenging. We are seeing
what I call the "new poor" and we have to do
more in this time of economic challenge. In
that context I can say, without a doubt, we
really will find it near impossible to make it
without the help of our neighbour Petrotrin."
The EITI report also pointed out that
Petrotrin plays a crucial role in the cadet
corps based in Fyzabad.
The report noted that the Petrotrin Cadet
Corps is intended to motivate and develop
young people and to provide an alternate
source of activity with the hopes that,
eventually, cadets will join state bands and
The report read: "To date, over 500 cadets
have graduated from the corps. Petrotrin
has also contributed to the participation
of young people in the Global Young Lead-
"This conference brings together out-
standing young people from several parts of
the world and provides an out-of-classroom
learning experience that equips students
with the confidence, independence, skills
and global competitiveness required of the
next generation of future leaders. Petrotrin
assisted 25 and 23 students in 2014 and 2015
It is this goodwill that the Cabinet must
not ignore in evaluating the role of the com-
pany and its true contribution to T&T.
for its fence-line
Petrotrin has from its inception played
a crucial role in sports in T&T.
Through its predecessor compa-
nies---Trintoc and Trintopec---many
members of the Strike Squad football
team have been part of, and remain,
among the company's staff.
In fact, the Extractive Industries Transparency In-
itiative (EITI) also pointed to the role of Petrotrin in
the development of sport in the country.
In its 2014/2015 report, the EITI said Petrotrin
heavily involved in the women's football.
"In 2015, Petrotrin celebrated its third success-
ful edition of the Women's Development Football
Programme. This two-month long initiative focused
on exposing young women, aged 11-17, to the basic
techniques of football. In 2015, the programme ac-
commodated secondary school students in addition
to students from fence-line primary schools," the
EITI report noted.
In fact, in 2015, Petrotrin sponsored the Petrotrin
Oilers Football Team for the 2015 Women's Premier
The team consisted of players from the company's
women's team as well as players from within Petro-
trin's fence-line communities.
The company has supported football in Marabella
with the sponsorship of what is the oldest community
football league in the country.
Tracey Caesar has been in charge of the Marabella
Football League since 1971.
He said Petrotrin and its predecessor companies
have always been involved in the league and it is their
involvement with both the football league and the
Marabella basketball league that has helped ensure
crime is controlled in the area.
Caesar told the Business Guardian, "There are four
teams from the train lines in Marabella. Those teams
represent different areas. It is because of the teams
we don't have this nonsense of borderline commu-
nities where people can't go freely from one com-
munity to the other. Yes we have crime in all parts
of Trinidad and Tobago but sports and this league
helps alleviate it."
Caesar said Petrotrin as the flagship sponsor has
always ensured that prize money is paid to the teams
on time and such efficiency, in part, has kept the
"One thing anyone can say is that once you play
in the Marabella Football League, 30 minutes after
the final whistle on the last day of competition there
is a prize-giving function and people receive their
prizes. Petrotrin ensures that things are done with
the requisite checks and balances," Caesar said.
The league begins on July 29 and, again, Petrotrin
will be the main sponsor, albeit with reduced funding.
Caesar said the league has served as a feeder for
the pro league.
He noted that it also allows many from the fence-
line communities to use sport as a way to stay out
of a life of crime.
Moving beyond football, Petrotrin has, for decades,
supported cricket including using and upkeeping
its ground---Guaracara Park---for local and regional
Additionally, the company has played a key role
in track and field and cycling.
Anthony Commissiong, also known as the "Bike
Doctor," has been responsible for organising the
Southern Games for decades.
He said Petrotrin remains the main sponsor and
says without the company's support the games could
not go on.
Noting the importance of the games to developing
athletes and keeping athletics alive in south Trinidad,
Commissiong said Petrotrin's sponsorship cannot
be equated in just monetary value but in terms of
the leadership, support and organisational skills it
brings to the table.
Company's crucial role in sport development
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