The Opposition has said it is pleased with the Energy Minister’s move to launch an independent investigation, comprising experts from multi-national energy companies, to examine the tragic drowning of five divers and any gaps in handling the situation.
However, the political party believes the families of the divers should be allowed to “have a say” on who will sit on the committee.
Speaking at a news conference yesterday afternoon, the Member of Parliament for Pointe-a-Pierre, David Lee, said the team ought to also include international experts.
“While we are heartened to hear that an independent investigation is taking place, I want to put this squarely here that the Opposition feels that maybe the family should have a say of having an individual, a pick, on that independent committee to investigate this tragedy,” Lee said.
“Of course, an expert—not anybody ‘Willy-Nilly’—we do not feel at this point in time that a lawyer should be on that committee. We also feel somebody from the OSH authority should be on that committee and maybe other experts and maybe an international expert to be on that committee to really understand this tragedy and prevent any other tragedies like this from happening in the future,” he added.
Lee said he strongly believes Minister Young wants “accountability” and “transparency” in this case as such, he asked the Minister to ensure an explanation is given by Paria Fuel Trading Company Limited and the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard on what efforts were made to rescue the divers before confirming their deaths.
“I am not saying that you are going to cover up anything. I know you are a man of integrity, Minister Young, and I know that you want to get to the truth and the country deserves the truth. The families of these divers deserve the truth,” Lee expressed.
“Minister Young rightly said this morning that they were sucked into the pipeline. A vacuum was created in that pipeline, they were in a chamber changing out a 12-foot section of the pipe and it sucked them in, not only the five divers but sucked in air tanks that would have been loose in the chamber so they didn’t fall according to Paria,” Lee exclaimed, referring to one of Paria’s statement on the incident.
“What became of that rescue plan because every repair process, especially in an energy sector must have a rescue plan and, if there was one and I am sure there was one, what happened when the incident took place? Why certain things were not triggered?” Lee asked.
He felt there was a window of survival for the men and Paria failed to act. This as he stated a rescue plan was proposed to Paria’s Management team on Sunday afternoon by an “experienced diver.”
He said the plan would have assisted in removing the tanks which are blocking them from retrieving the bodies.