(CMC) – Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley Wednesday said that Trinidad and Tobago would not be approaching the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under his watch as he blamed foreign companies in the oil industry for not meeting their financial obligations to the country.
“It would be a hell of a thing indeed if this nation of Trinidad and Tobago of 1.3 million people, the total population about the size of one mid-size American city with resources of that nature in this business that we end up with an IMF programme for US$200 million while we leaking about a billion dollars out of our tax net, it would be a hell of a thing indeed,” Rowley told a one-day national conference titled “Spotlight on Energy Conference”.
He told the delegates that he has given the country the assurance that under his stewardship, the twin-island republic will not go to the IMF.
“Certainly,certainly not for a pittance while we allowing our resources to go through our fingers because we were sleeping at the wheel,” said Rowley.
Rowley acknowledged the present difficulties within the industry but insisted that the burden must be shared by all stakeholders.
“We are satisfied with the response we have been getting so far from those in this industry because so far the indications are there’s a willingness not to treat contracts as cast in stone”.
He said while contracts “bind us to terms and conditions, if the conditions have changed so dramatically and so detrimental and the re-opening and re-negotiating of contracts is a reasonable demand of the people of Trinidad and Tobago”.
Rowley said his administration anticipates that “our partners in this business will see our claim as a fair and just one and we anticipate that there will be re-opening of contracts so that at the end of the day we can all sustainably benefit from the God given riches (of) Trinidad and Tobago”.