Government has identified some of Petrotrin’s lands in the South for development and transfer of ownership to former Petrotrin workers, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced yesterday.
The land offer is the latest concession Government is giving former workers following the November 30 cessation of Petrotrin operations, closure of its refinery and start-up of restructured entities on December 1.
Replying in Parliament yesterday to Opposition queries on what would be done to help workers, Rowley noted the $2.7 billion payout to workers, tax-free concessions on benefits up to $500,000 and other developments.
He said Petrotrin is one of the largest entities with state land and Government was making portions of those lands (all over the south-west and southern peninsula) “….identified for development for transfer in ownership to Petrotrin workers who can benefit from such.”
Rowley said he’ll make a statement in Parliament on that soon. He said Government’s social support systems are focusing excessively on southern areas to deal with hardships occurring, as Government knew those areas would be hit by the Petrotrin changes.
But even as Government was putting money in to help those in distress, he added, some in the community were trying to “get more than their fair share.”
Reporting on the recent Caricom summit on the Single Market and the Economy (CSME), Rowley detailed plans to bring new impetus to the implementation of the CSME which member states will move towards fully by 2021 – and for which T&T will have to make legislative changes to allow Caricom nationals certain rights and benefits here.
He said T&T would be required to undertake a comprehensive review of the relevant legislative (Immigration Caribbean Community Skilled National Act) and administrative frameworks governing the entry and stay of Caricom nationals, as well as benefits to be accorded to them.
The amendments will have to cater to the expanded categories of skilled Caricom nationals – recently expanded to include security guards, beauticians, barbers and agricultural workers – the Recognition of Skills Certificates issued by other Caricom Member States; and authorisation of the benefits to be extended to spouses and dependents of Skills Certificate holders as outlined in Caricom’s protocols on Contingent Rights.
He said leaders also signed an agreement on a Caricom Arrest Warrant Treaty. This establishes within Caricom a system of arrest and surrender of requested persons for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution for an applicable offence; or executing a custodial sentence where the requested persons have fled from justice after being sentenced for an applicable offence.
It was also agreed that T&T host Carifesta XIV during August 16-25, 2019.
Leaders also agreed on a Multi-lateral Air Services Agreement allowing any Caricom state that does not have a national airline the right to designate another Caricom state airline to operate on its behalf.