PM: Galleons pump problem minor

If the Galleon’s Passage ferry has only suffered a faulty water pump problem after travelling 6,000 miles across the Pacific, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says he’d be particularly happy if that’s the ferry’s only problem.

Rowley made the comment yesterday in Parliament, in reply to Opposition queries on issues the vessel is experiencing.

He said the vessel was delayed by three to four weeks due to bad weather and delays at ports where there were berthing spot difficulties. He said this “small coastal vessel” completed a comprehensive trip across the Pacific from China to Mexico and was having routine maintenance at Acapulco.

Works Minister Rohan Sinanan said the pump was replaced and the vessel was due to depart yesterday.

Estimated arrival time in T&T - pending good weather and progress after its upcoming upgrade in Cuba - is by month-end, Rowley added.

He also said he’d examine the possibility of obtaining a new ferry which can be made available with Australia’s help.

On other Opposition queries, Rowley said the report from Ambassador Christopher Thomas - regarding T&T’s non-support on Dominica’s request for waiver of its OAS fees - is at his office.

He said the report’s contents indicate “shortcomings on the part of persons who hold office in T&T.” As soon as appropriate, it’ll be made available to the Standing Committee on Foreign Policy and also at the appropriate time to the Parliament, he added.

Rowley also said Government is in talks with Canadian health-service provider Interhealth - as well as the University of the West Indies - on use of the Couva Hospital. Talks will include on ownership, operation and procedures.

On UNC MP Rodney Charles’ concern that talks should include payment options, Rowley, saying he didn’t want to prejudice talks, snapped, “What make you think we don’t have a position on that?”

He also said there’s recently been an allocation to complete some of the schools which hadn’t been completed earlier due to lack of funds.

On queries about Government’s US lobbyist Arthur Collins, Rowley said Government hired him to seek T&T’s interests in Washington in the same way other governments have hired lobbyists to serve the same purpose. Collins is still on Government’s payroll, he added.

He said funding for the Housing Development Corporation’s $9 million housing programme will come from mortgages being done and private-public partnerships. Four or five such projects are under-way.

He also confirmed Petrotrin ‘s interim executive team is seeking qualified people for company president and other posts.

Source: (Gail Alexander)

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