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PETROTRIN files lawsuit

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

PETROTRIN files lawsuit

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – The Oilfield Workers Union (OWTU) yesterday said it was not threatened by a decision by the state-owned oil company, PETROTRIN, to file a lawsuit against its leader and the Trinidad Guardian newspaper.
OWTU president Ancel Roget, speaking at a news conference here, said the company would have to rethink its strategy if it believes the pre-action protocol letter was aimed at silencing the union over the performance of the company in the wake of the oil spill fiasco.
“So is it to say they will not continue to perform, the refinery performance is under question and they are attempting to silence anyone who dares to speak out in defence of our state enterprise,” he said.
PETROTRIN’s attorney Richard Arjoon Jagai issued the pre-action protocol letters on Monday to Roget, the newspaper and the reporter who wrote a story, published in the Sunday Guardian on February 23, under the headline, “Pressure mounts at PETROTRIN $$ CRISIS LOOMS – Tension at PETROTRIN.”
The company is alleging slander and contending the allegations made in the newspaper report were entirely false and baseless.
In the letter, PETROTRIN said the union was aware of the planned shutdown of the refinery.
“At all material times, the OWTU was aware of the said planned shutdown having been a party to a Memorandum of Agreement which governs the terms and conditions of the workers during the said planned shutdown,” the letter noted.
The letter also noted that the MOU signed between the company and OWTU gave the union a monitoring role in the turnaround works. PETROTRIN is calling on Roget and the Trinidad Guardian to withdraw the slanderous allegations and issue a proper apology.
The company is also demanding that Roget and the Guardian refrain from repeating the slander and wants payment of a substantial sum in damages, “to demonstrate the baseless nature of the slanderous allegations” and compensate PETROTRIN for injury to its trading reputation.