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Energy Chamber voices concern about ministry injunction

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Energy Chamber of T&T is extremely concerned about the implications of the recent injunction preventing the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries from hiring key professional and technical staff, in response to a case brought against the government by the Public Services Association (PSA).

The Ministry of Energy is one of five major Government Ministries which have been barred from hiring public servants to fill specialised positions.

On Tuesday, High Court Judge Margaret Mohammed granted the PSA an injunction against the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Energy Services, who began the recruitment process in his ministry in May following a Government directive.

The injunction is part of the PSA’s substantive judicial review lawsuit challenging Government’s decision to delegate the power to hire public servants away from the Public Service Commission (PSC).

According to a release yesterday from the Energy Chamber, approximately US$10 billion in capital investment into upstream oil and gas exploration and development is expected over the next five years.

“This means that the volume and pace of activity in the energy sector is set to increase. The Ministry of Energy urgently requires key professional staff in order for it to effectively and efficiently discharge its regulatory duties in the sector. Without these public officers in place there is a danger that administrative delays within the Ministry could derail the projected investments and prevent T&T from increasing gas production. This can have serious knock-on negative consequences for the entire economy.”

The Energy Chamber urges the PSA, the government and the Service Commission to find a mechanism to resolve this issue as a matter of the utmost priority.

“Protracted litigation is not in the best interest of the country,” the Energy Chamber said.