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Petrotrin assures safety for workers

Published: 
Monday, December 11, 2017

If Petrotrin worker Vidya Deokiesingh returns to work at his Santa Flora offices today, workers led by the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union may engage in another round of protest.

A source said workers were incensed by the return of Deokiesingh who was spotlighted at the centre of allegations in the fake oil scandal involving A&V Oil and Gas, whose owner Nazim Baksh is a friend of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

In a video circulated last Friday, Deokiesingh was seen being escorted by security off the compound of Petrotrin’s Santa Flora office during a protest by workers.

But in a statement, Petrotrin assured that it will provide a safe working environment for all employees. The company also denied that Deokiesingh was escorted off the compound because he was afraid for his safety.

Petrotrin, in the statement, said Deokiesingh, who was on two months leave, resumed duties on Wednesday and was assigned to the Field Equipment Maintenance (FEM) Department at Santa Flora.

“On Friday morning, some employees staged a protest outside of the FEM Building demanding Deokiesingh’s removal. As a precautionary measure, Petrotrin’s Security Officers went to his office to check on his well-being. While Deokiesingh did not consider that there was a threat to his person, he informed the officers that he actually had a pre-arranged medical appointment at the Company’s Medical Centre, in Santa Flora and out of an abundance of caution, the officers offered to take him to the Medical Centre, which is what is shown in the video,” the statement said.

“The protesting employees dispersed shortly after Deokiesingh left. Deokiesingh later returned to his office and there was no subsequent protest action,” the Petrotrin release said.

Following Friday’s disturbance, discussions were held with the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union and Petrotrin officials expressed concern over what had transpired. Petrotrin said an internal investigation has started and “due process will be followed.”

Petrotrin also said amidst concerns expressed by some employees, the company will continue to provide a safe work environment for all employees.

Deokiesingh was a PNM candidate in the 2015 general election and was brought into politics by former prime minister Patrick Manning.