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” What can we learn from this situation?”
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” What can we learn from this situation?”

Trinidad and Tobago’s oil refinery Petrotrin closed  its operations just over a week ago, leaving thousands of workers out of a job. Aura Whittier, 18, a Correspondent from San Juan, Trinidad questions whether the decision to close the oil refinery is the right one.

“Trinidad and Tobago, even though small in size, is a significant player on the global stage, especially in the natural gas and petrochemical sector,” said Prime Minister Keith Rowley in his address to the nation a few months ago regarding the closure of the refinery plant at the state owned corporation Petrotrin.

An article in the Newsday had indicated that the company would be laying off at least 1700 workers (close to 70% of the refinery’s staff) by October 1st and keeping the other 800 workers for a new oil exploration project. The government said that this is a necessary move to keep Petrotrin ‘profitable.’

This decision comes with serious controversy. The social impact is alarming. For an economy already in turmoil, the closure of a major aspect of our largest industry leaves citizens very concerned about the future. There is an immediate concern that almost 2000 professionals with specific skills are now  jobless and many university graduates trained in petroleum engineering are now with no operational refinery  in the country, and on very short notice. In addition, one cannot predict the medium term financial repercussions of such a decision on the economic prospects of our country.

If there is a possibility of continuing the refining of oil at Petrotrin, with an agreement from either Venezuela or Guyana, why is the refinery being closed and workers being sent home so abruptly?Since the oil refinery has been making such a loss for so many years, why not wait a few more months to settle at a less rash and more thought-out decision on the future of oil refining at Petrotrin, especially since re-starting a plant of that size is a major undertaking. The possible losses made in those few months cannot possibly be more than the economic or social repercussions from making such a major decision without clear guidelines for the future.

What lesson can we learn from this current issue? Many of us judge the government harshly when we too engage in rushed decision-making that impacts more lives than just our own in a negative way.

photo credit: Facebook.com/Petrotrin
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About me: I am a business student and a future developmental economist. I love to learn about social issues and analyse how they relate to my study, but also to my own underlying ethical values. I have a keen interest in youth empowerment, involvement and development. As such, I spend the majority my free time tutoring disadvantaged youth and participating in self-development youth programs. Of course, I also spend a significant amount of time reading and writing.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response? To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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[1] https://futurechallenges.org/local/generation-screwed-why-there-are-no-jobs-for-young-people/

 

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