After a two-month vacation after the fake oil scandal was made public, Vidya Deokiesingh returned to work at Petrotrin, only to be confronted by a protest from his colleagues over his higher posting.
Petrotrin had to provide security Deokiesingh at its Santa Flora facility out of an abundance of caution when workers there protested against him on Friday.
Deokiesingh never felt threatened, but he accepted a security escort to the State oil-company’s medical centre where had had an appointment. However, some of his colleagues said he was traumatized by the action of his colleagues.
The company was responding to the circulation of video showing security officers escorting Deokiesingh while workers jeered and clapped as they left.
The workers of Petrotrin’s Santa Flora Exploration & Production (E&P) department first downed tools on Thursday and and again on Friday, following Deokiesingh’s reassignment to the Field Equipment Maintenance Department. His last portfolio was hospitality officer.
Petrotrin again confirmed Deokiesingh had resumed duties on December 6 and was sent to FEM where he had spent several years including a term of apprenticeship.
During Friday’s morning’s protest, security officers went to check on Deokiesingh’s well-being. “While Deokiesingh did not consider that there was threat to his person, he informed officers he had a pre-arranged medical appointment at the company’s medical centre. Out of an abundance of caution, the officers offered to take him to the medical centre which is what is shown in the video,” Petrotrin said in a statement.
The company said the protesting workers dispersed, Deokiesingh, a defeated PNM candidate for Siparia, returned to his office and there was no further protest. It also contacted the OWTU, expressing concern about what happened and sought the union’s support to allow the industrial relations process to be followed.
Petrotrin also said internal investigations are ongoing, and again assured employees it will continue to provide a safe work environment.
Following revelations by UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar about an internal audit by Petrotrin which revealed discrepancies between reported oil production and actual production receipts at Pointe-a-Pierre, the company engaged Kroll Consulting Canada Co (Kroll) to investigate the discrepancies.
Persad-Bissessar had identified AV Oil and Gas Ltd and Deokiesingh as allegedly being involved in the discrepancies.
Deokiesingh contested the Siparia constituency on a PNM ticket in 2015 and was chairman of the Siparia Regional Corporation when the PNM controlled the corporation.