Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 27th 2017 Contents BG8 | ENERGY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt JULY 27 • 2017
More pressure for healthcare systems?
Cabinet will have to consider that thou-
sands of people, particularly in south Trin-
idad, who depend on Petrotrin for their
healthcare and, as such, do not use the al-
ready heavily burdened public healthcare
Energy Minister Franklyn Khan has said
that everything is on the table as it relates
to Petrotrin but one thing that is not well
known is the extent of healthcare support
services Petrotrin provides to its workers,
retirees and their dependants.
The company has a generous healthcare
plan that allows its employees, retirees and
some close family members to benefit from
Inherited from its predecessor companies
including Texaco, Petrotrin is responsible
for the maintenance of at least seven health
centres and one hospital. This means that
the company's 5,000 employees and its
4,000 retirees and their dependants use
the companies facilities and doctors.
Former energy minister Conrad Enill said
this is part of the challenge that the govern-
ment will face in seeking to determine the
best way forward because there are fixed
costs which it will have to treat with, in-
cluding those that are part of the collective
bargaining process such as pension plans
and healthcare plans.
The 2015 EITI report identifies the chal-
lenge by noting that the company has been
committed to the communities in which it
The report says, "Petrotrin contributes
to the Treasury, develops indigenous ca-
pabilities 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 Trinidad and Tobago's multifaceted cul-
In addition to the healthcare support,
Petrotrin is also responsible for the main-
tenance of several community facilities
including different camps and clubs that
provide recreation for the communities.
For example, weddings, bingos and other
events are held at the clubs at lowered rates
so communities can benefit from the com-
All of that could be at risk.
Petrotrin also provides water and elec-
tricity services to some communities that
they operated in for decades. This was seen
as a benefit for the employees and the com-
munities that the company operated in.
Enill noted that the government will have
to consider what Petrotrin's priorities are
and will also have to remember that Petro-
trin imports crude using foreign exchange
and then refines the crude and sells it to the
local market at a cost including the exchange
rate losses. That too, he said, must be part
of the consideration.
It is clear that the decisions that will be
made by Cabinet will not be straightfor-
ward. Whatever course of action taken, it is
likely to significantly impact ordinary lives.
As the Cabinet continues to
deliberate on what to do with
state-owned Petrotrin, it will
have to take into account the
important role that the com-
pany plays in the promotion
of the national instrument through its signif-
icant sponsorship of steelbands in T&T.
While it is easy to point to the company's
balance sheet, Petrotrin's contribution is wide
and varied and, therefore, the risk of disloca-
The company is the country's largest sponsor
of steelbands, to date it is associated with 16
bands. Petrotrin is the full sponsor of three
bands and the company assists 13 others.
The 2015 EITI report noted that Petrotrin
continues to invest heavily in the national
instrument. The report read, "In 2014 and
2015, the company maintained sponsorship
for four prominent steel orchestras: Phase
II Pan Groove, Siparia Deltones, Hatters and
Katzenjammers of Tobago."
Phase II has since received sponsorship from
the Hadco Group.
The EITI report continued, "The company
also provided assistance to a further 16 and 14
steel orchestras in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Petrotrin also maintained sponsorship of the
"Pan for Blue" competition, and in 2015 cel-
ebrated the competition's 16th year as part of
the Point Fortin Borough Week activities. This
steel band competition is designed to promote
the use of the national instrument amongst
primary schools within the South/Central Re-
gion of Pan Trinbago. In 2015, Petrotrin was
also the main sponsor of the National Small
and Single Pan Finals."
One of the steelbands that Petrotrin as-
sist is the Southern Marines Steel Orchestra,
medium-sized band based in Marabella on
the fenceline of Petrotrin's Pointe-a-Pierre
The band's public relations officer, Michael
Joseph, noted that Petrotrin's assistance ranges
from paying the fees for the tuner and arranger
for Panorama, to assisting the band with its
branding and signage.
Joseph said, "This band is based on the Old
Train Line in Marabella and, therefore, we are
a fenceline community. While we feel we could
get more assistance from Petrotrin, we are
grateful for what we get."
He pointed out that the band is a source of
pride for the community and is this year cel-
ebrating 51 years in existence.
"To be around for more than 50 years, you
have to remain close to the community and
the fact that we have survived so long should
tell you the importance to the community,"
He noted that the band holds its annual
Emancipation programme and a pan camp
both of which are supported by Petrotrin.
"For our Emancipation celebrations coming
up, we have received assistance from Petrotrin.
While it is not enough, we have not been able
to get any other sponsors. So you can imagine
where we would be without Petrotrin. I am
afraid it would be difficult to have the number
of programmes we have here for the young peo-
ple if there is no help coming from Petrotrin."
The whole issue of sponsorship in steelband
is crucial to the survival and growth of stee-
bands according to Michael Marcano, president
of BP Renegades. He noted that since 1970,
BP has been involved with the Renegades Pan
He said what is crucial in a big sponsor is not
just the money they provide to the bands, but
also the assistance in learning to manage the
bands. Marcano noted that the large sponsors
like BP and Petrotrin also work with the bands
in developing their strategic and business plans
and this is sometimes more important that the
The EITI report also noted that as part of
Petrotrin's CSR it also provides support for
various cultural groups and events through-
out the national community. These include:
Petrotrin Boodoosingh Tassa Group, Petro-
trin Levantamientos Parang Group, Voices of
Petrotrin, and Trinmar Chorale.
All of these issues will have to be considered
when a final decision is made about the future
of the company.
Company crucial to the national instrument
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