Wednesday 19 September, 2018

Kamla reiterates call for PM to fire Transport Minister, PATT Board

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley must take responsibility for the ongoing sea bridge woes and must fire Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan and the entire Board of the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.

The sentiment was expressed by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Monday.

Persad-Bissessar said this in response to comments made by Dr Rowley after the stakeholders meeting in Lowlands Tobago yesterday, where members of the public gathered to discuss with the Prime Minister, how the transportation of goods and services to Tobago have been affected by the sea bridge fiasco.

In a statement, the Opposition Leader accused Dr Rowley of attempting to deflect the blame for the scandal. She called on the Prime Minister to preserve the integrity of the investigation by removing the PATT Board and the line Minister, adding that anything less would be an insult to the general public.

“The people of Trinidad and Tobago deserve transparency and accountability on this issue and there should be no contamination nor compromising of evidence in the interim,” she said.

Meanwhile, the UNC leader criticized the Prime Minister for being unable to give details about the procurement of the Ocean Flower 2 and the Cabo Star which were expected to man the sea bridge.

“Rowley, the head of this country’s Cabinet, admitted that he is unaware of who are the shareholders and directors of Bridgemans Trinidad LPC, the company which was contracted to provide two vessels to service the seabridge. He could not answer how a company not registered in Trinidad and Tobago could be given this charter party by the Government.  He could not answer whether advances were paid, whether there were any finder’s fees, legal fees or any other fees and to whom were these fees paid, and who took the decision to lease and on what basis,” she stated.

The Siparia MP also accused Dr Rowley of trying to mislead the population by attempting to divert attention from the allegations of corruption in the deal.  

In addition, she noted that the Prime Minister showed no compassion following the stakeholders meeting, despite information being circulated that several businesses may be forced to shut down as a result of the inability to get timely goods and services from Trinidad, due to the sea bridge fiasco.

“Rowley cannot continue to try to deflect blame for this scandal. The Prime Minister showed no empathy for the thousands of citizens affected by the inefficiencies of the seabridge.  Several business people have indicated that they are facing the reality that they may have to close their doors, which means further job losses, and more people unable to provide for their families." she said.