Sinckler: Never said so
MINISTER OF FINANCE Chris Sinckler last night denied making any reference to selling the Barbados National Oil Company (BNOC) in his presentation on the 2014 Estimates on Monday in the House of Assembly as reported in the Tuesday DAILY NATION.
“I never indicated in the text of my speech or the words from my mouth that the Government of Barbados was selling the Barbados National Oil Company,” Sinckler said. “That was not true. I did say that we were in the process of preparing the prospectus for the sale of the Barbados National Terminal Company (BNTCL), which as you know, was not always a Government company.”
He explained that the terminal operation was up to a few years ago done by the private sector in that part of the energy sector.
“This is not anything that is new. In fact, I believe in a Budget speech a few years ago, I indicated that the Cabinet had taken a decision, which is a fact . . . . At that time, we said we were looking at between 30 per cent to 50 per cent of the shares of that company, and we would do it to invigorate private enterprise in Barbados for an entity that had great value in which the private sector could participate, not only the big players but others who may want to when that initial share offering is put for the company.”
He added that plan also was not new and that he was only “concretising” and repeating what had already been said.
“But the NATION thought it best to run off that front page story. Unfortunately, it caused a lot of angst and anxiety among the staff members, and management of BNOCL had to call an emergency meeting to calm the nerves of the staff. It really is very unfortunate for people to have to go through that type of thing,” he said.
“I apologised to the staff. It was not my mistake, but I apologised to them nonetheless for any unfortunate anxiety which they may have encountered because of what took place.
“I don’t think the reporter herself was being mischievous but we have now the modern technology. You can go online, as I did online, because I know what I said, but when I saw the story so blazingly written, I thought that I had actually said it. So I went and I made sure that I didn’t say it, with the intention of issuing a correction. But then I realised that in fact I didn’t say so because the real time video is there.” (AB)