Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 6th 2013 Contents A6
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt October 6, 2013
signed between T&T s
Energy Minister Kevin
Venezuela s petroleum
minister and PDVSA
Ramirez on September
11, was negotiated by
the best in the public
said in an interview on
Tuesday at his min-
istry on the Port-of-
"I have high regard for the public servants who conducted
and led that negotiation. In my opinion they were the best
public servants in the Public Service, and they were at the
helm of (the ministries of) Energy and Foreign Affairs," he
"We have some of the toughest negotiators in T&T here in
this ministry. I would not like to be on the opposite side of
Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs permanent secretary
Selwyn Lashley, who also sat in on the interview, led the nego-
tiation on the T&T side. Senior State Counsel Louise Poy
Wing and National Energy Corporation president Andrew
Jupiter also sat in on the interview at the minister's secretari-
at.He said the notion that T&T lost ten per cent in the Sep-
tember 11 signing is false.
"The 26.94 per cent of Loran-Manatee on our side of the
border is subject to a production-sharing contract called the
Block 6 production sharing contract (PSC) that was signed in
1974 and amended in 1993," he explained.
"Under the terms of that contract, the natural gas that will
be produced has to be shared among: the Government of T&T,
16.97 per cent; and the two contractors, BGTT, 4.98 per cent;
and Chevron Trinidad Inc, 4.98 per cent. If you add back
those numbers, you get 26.94 (with some rounding).
"So therefore we have lost nothing. We have given away
nothing. We have given up nothing. It is simply that the PSC
terms allow for the sharing of production among the T&T
The minister said T&T has long held the position that its
26.94 per cent must come to T&T.
"It will come to T&T via a pipeline," he said.
PS Lashley and the NEC's Jupiter confirmed that the pipeline
would be built by BGTT and Chevron, at no cost to the State.
In a stand-up explanation of an energy map on the wall
in his office, Ramnarine demonstrated that the nearest con-
nection to T&T's already existing infrastructure could take
the gas to Atlantic (formerly Atlantic LNG) or the Petrotrin
refinery, once a pipeline is built from Loran Manatee connecting
to BGTT's Dolphin or Dolphin Deep fields.
On the claim that Venezuela's Ramirez articulated a plan
while T&T's Energy Minister did not, Ramnarine said both
companies (BG and Chevron) have existing contracts, "or they
may choose to have a discussion with the Government to
monetise their gas in a different way.
"But we have not reached that point because this agreement
wasn't about that.
"The issue about T&T's gas being piped to Venezuela is not
an issue. That was never discussed. It was never a position
of this Government," he said.
In last week's Sunday Guardian, Opposition Leader Dr Keith
Rowley was highly critical of the agreement.
The Witness Protection Programme
So said attorney Ramesh Lawrence
Maharaj, who implemented the pro-
gramme 17 years ago, while he served
as attorney general under the United
National Congress government.
Established in 1996, the programme
was geared to protect witnesses in major
criminal cases from physical harm and
Today, Maharaj sees the programme,
which falls under the Justice Ministry,
"The programme has totally collapsed
as a result of the Government's incom-
petence, lack of passion and know-how
to fight crime. You cannot fight crime
without having an effective and ade-
quate programme. In my view, there is
no Witness Protection Programme.
There may be something called Witness
Protection Programme. It is incompe-
tence at its highest," said Maharaj.
He said when the public reads about
criminal cases falling by the wayside or
accused people being acquitted because
crucial witnesses for the prosecution
are either gunned down or refuse to
testify, fingers will point at all arms of
the State involved in the administration
Under the Justice Protection Act,
offences which may give rise to pro-
tection under the programme include
murder, manslaughter, possession or
use of firearms and ammunition, aggra-
vated assault, shooting or wounding,
armed robbery and arson.
Maharaj said an effective witness
protection programme was an essential
component of a comprehensive criminal
justice response to protect those who
are key to reducing crime.
On Wednesday, state witness Omwal-
lie Smith, through his attorney Subhas
Panday, said he did not wish to par-
ticipate in the preliminary enquiry after
Smith is a witness in the case against
two men charged with the killing and
dismembering of Diane Williams and
her ten-year-old son, Shaquille Mor-
Every year its costs the State $20
million to keep state witnesses and their
families in the programme alive.
From 2003 to 2007 approximately
240 people were in the programme.
Of the 240, 11 witnesses withdrew.
This statistic was provided in 2008
by then national security minister, Mar-
tin Joseph in Parliament.
For the programme to work effec-
tively, Maharaj said proper safe houses
must be sought not only in T&T but
in America, England and Canada.
Changing the identities of key wit-
nesses was also essential.
Maharaj: We tightened
In 1996, Maharaj along with former
national security minister, Brig Joseph
Theodore (now deceased) launched the
programme in which witnesses would
testify in court in exchange for guar-
anteed security and protection until a
decision is made by the court.
The establishment of the programme
helped in convicting drug lord Dole
Chadee and nine others for the murders
of four members of a Williamsville fam-
ily in 1994.
The trial against the men crumbled
when Levi Morris, one of Chadee's
accomplices and Clint Huggins, a Spe-
cial Reserved Police officer turned state
The State brokered a deal with Mor-
ris, giving him immunity and a new
identity. After he testified, Morris and
his family were sent abroad to live.
Huggins was put in a safe house.
However, a week before he was due to
testify for the prosecution, Huggins
abandoned the safe house and his body
was found in Mount Hope in February
of 1996. Huggins' deposition was later
used in Chadee's trial.
In September 1996, Chadee and the
gang were convicted and sentenced to
death. They were hanged in June of
After Huggins' death, Maharaj said
they had to tighten up things and the
programme remained effective under
"When the UNC demitted office the
programme began to deteriorate,"
"As a matter of fact, several witnesses
had to leave the programme because
there was no interest shown by the
On Tuesday, Maharaj said one wit-
ness recently abandoned the programme
after receiving death threats on his cell
The witness informed Maharaj that
he was put in a safe house with no
$20m annually for Witness Protection Programme
It has collapsed
Continues on Page A9
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine
Marianne Fraser, left, presents her barbeque fish dish at the Malvern Sports Club's annual Tongs on Fire cookout held at
the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, yesterday. The club is promoting ''positivity among young adults''.
Tongs on Fire BBQ Cookout, will be having their chief inter-call on October 19, at the Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, for
secondary schools in the north. PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE
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