Euthanization of Petrotrin

Euthanization of Petrotrin
Photo : Lester S. Orie

The meaning of euthanise is to kill (a person or animal) painlessly, especially to relieve suffering from an incurable illness, so if our dog, for instance, is old and suffering, we place its destiny in the hands of a Vet who ends its days on earth.

Jack Kevorkian was an American pathologist and a euthanasia proponent (for humans). He championed a terminal patient’s right to die via physician-assisted suicide.

And although he said he performed this euthanasia act on 130 patients, for the billions across the world, trying to save their loved ones regardless of how far gone they are is a natural, spontaneous reaction of the human spirit.

When our parents are no longer the breadwinners (as they once were) when they are old and feeble and helpless, do we send for Kevorkian to end their days or do we get somebody, pay that person, to look after them, make their lives as comfortable as is possible.

In 1978, Chrysler, one of America’s giant car makers lost $204.6 million dollars followed by losses of $1,1 billion in 1979 and $1.7 billion in 1980.

For most people concerned, Chrysler was already scrap iron, and those in that line of business were already singing, “buying scrap iron, old battery buying.”

Enter Lee iacocca the maverick carmaker from Ford who designed one of America’s most famous and beloved car, the Mustang. Iacocca was not of the mind set of those who believe that death (in business) was an inevitability.

Because of his optimism and despite the refusal of the banking institutions of America to bail out Chrysler, Iacocca decided he would resuscitate this giant as if he were the omnipotent god in the car industry. He lobbied Congress and President Carter to win federal backing of loans of $1.5 billion in December 1979. Chrysler triumphantly paid back the loans in 1983, seven years early.

Long story short: by 1984, Chrysler earned $2.38 billion all because of one man’s indomitable entrepreneurial spirit and his apparent belief that even the sky is not the limit to what is possible.

The question this raises is whether all options regarding Petrotrin have been explored. We hear of a Lashley report and I, for one, wonder who is Lashley. I gather he is/was a PS and that alone makes me wonder if we are letting a bureaucrat, oppressed and constrained by the myopia and intransigence of the bureaucratic mind set to determine the future of an industry that requires the best entrepreneurial mind that money can buy? that requires another Lee Iacocca?

Although the US government and all kinds of experts were involved in the levitation of Chrysler the prevailing view is that it was Lee Iacocca’s charisma do, don’t die, spirit that turned around the company. In one study of great leaders, he fits the headline, from Hannibal to Iacocca.

Karen Nunez-Tesheira boasts of PNM closing down this and that - of Caroni and now Petrotrin, but forgetting to include the scrapping of the train among other casualty of PNM scrap-iron philosophy and sees it all as some kind of PNM virtue.

When you commit a negativity what is attributed to you is notoriety - as in Dr Kevorkian case; when you performed the first heart transplant you become eternally famous as Dr Christian Bernard.

Finally, there is a lesson for mankind in the Bible about Lazarus and Jesus. Why did Jesus raise the dead when his own crucifixion was predestined? He raised the dead because he wanted to show the world that it was something possible.

Death even in an industrial sense is not inevitable.

By L. Siddhartha Orie

(Author of Pyrotechnics in Essays)