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Rowley’s INCAT inconsistencies

Published: 
Monday, June 4, 2018

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley needs to provide the nation, the Joint Select Committee of Parliament investigating procurement of ferries and the Integrity Commission, and even perhaps the Police and Director of Public Prosecution, more information on what he described as “Horror in Hobart”. Instead, the Government majority on the Joint Select Committee investigating the ferry procurement appears to be using their majority to stall further public hearing on the procurement of the ferries and arrive at a premature end.

Dr Rowley met with Australian companies INCAT and Austal to discuss the possibility of purchasing vessels. Upon his arrival from his recent jaunt to China and Australia Dr Rowley informed the media that there was a conspiracy to block communication with the Australian shipbuilding company by people on the Government payroll who refused to respond. Instead, the Government employees, according to Dr Rowley, were advising the board that they could not find any suitable vessel.

Previously, Prime Minister Rowley asserted that there was corruption involved in the acquisition of the Cabo Star. Not only was nothing heard again about the corruption but the Cabo Star’s so-called lease was renewed by the Port Authority.

Dr Rowley needs to share with the population if the Terajet in the first attempt at finding a vessel was successful and was subsequently shot down by the political directorate. Terajet was one of the boats submitted by Seajets, so to say that vessels were not available to the Port is disingenuous.

In the last attempted tender in November 2017 for the acquisition of an inter-island ferry to service the route between Trinidad and Tobago, submissions were received from:

• Get Away Cruises Limited,

• Ocean Star Shipping Limited,

• Bridgemans Services Group LP,

• Paragon Protection Consultants Limited,

• Fortune Maritime LLC, and

• Seajets Maritime Company.

The tender committee was comprised of all marine experts and included Curtis Roach, Courtney Lange, Kurt Duncan and Jennifer Lutchman. The committee made recommendations to the Port and those recommendations were not accepted and instead, a Cabinet-appointed committee was established to find a vessel that resulted in the purchase of the Galleons Passage. The Roach-led committee, after its comprehensive evaluation, submitted four (4) vessels in order of preference but subsequently, a release was issued indicating that the committee failed to select a vessel.

The Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago refused to provide the Recommendation Report of the Roach Committee via the Freedom of Information Act, and it is critical that this report is made public given the statements of the Prime Minister. Reliable sources who wish to remain anonymous indicate that the four vessels selected were three (3) INCAT vessels and the Terajet …. all from Australia. These vessels were rejected outright because of what appears to be political spite and victimisation against estranged PNM General Council Member Harry Ragoonanan, who many feel was linked to these vessels. The Rowley Government has to make the Roach Report public and specify the corruption.

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