TRINIDAD Government provides subvention to struggling state-owned asphalt company

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Lake asphalt (File Photo)

BROOKLYN, NY – The Trinidad and Tobago government Tuesday said that it would provide subventions to the state-owned Lake Asphalt Trinidad and Tobago (1978) Limited (LATT) to meet the payment to its workers as a result of the impact it has suffered from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A statement from the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries said that the wholly-owned state enterprise, charged with the commercial development of the pitch lake in La Brea, south of here, and promoted as the world’s largest deposit of natural asphalt, had “unfortunately…like most businesses, …suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

The ministry said that it had “urgently sought and obtained Cabinet approval to provide LATT with subventions to assist it in the payment of its expenses, including the cost of its workers.

“This is the second intervention by the Government in 2021 to provide subventions to LATT so that it can meet its obligations to its workforce,” the statement said, without disclosing the number of funds involved in both situations.

“The Government, via the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, is currently looking at how LATT can become self-sustainable as it is not acceptable for LATT to continue depending on subventions from the Treasury to cover its wages and expenses,” the statement said.

It quoted Energy and Energy Industries Minister Stuart R Young as prioritizing “the pursuit of the plans to make LATT self-sustainable and intends to approach the Cabinet shortly with proposals along these lines.”

According to its website, LATT has been involved in the mining, refining, manufacturing, and distributing high-quality road building materials and other asphalt-related products for over 100 years and is a global organization with distributors and alliances in five of the seven continents of the world.

It said that the company processes and exports Trinidad Lake Asphalt (TLA), which is mined from the pitch lake, and that the product “is recognized around the world as the superior modifier for refinery bitumen and has been used on every continent in the world over the past century in several applications including the paving of some of the largest roadways, highways, bridge decks, racetracks and airport runways across the globe.”

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