Persad-Bissessar: PM must take responsibility for seabridge problems

Monday, August 21, 2017 - 19:00

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says the Prime Minister must take responsibility for the problems of servicing the seabridge.

She says today's news conference on the issue was a cover-up for incompetence within the Government.

The Opposition Leader issued the following statement today.

"Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley today admitted that he is largely unaware of what his Ministers are doing in executing their jobs.  

In addition, Rowley continues to shirk his duties as Prime Minister, choosing to go on vacation at every opportunity instead of dealing with this matter with urgency. It is unacceptable given the gravity of the situation and the damage done to citizens and businessmen of Tobago that the Prime Minister could not answer the most basic questions regarding the ferry situation.

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.

Instead of providing answers to the people of this country on the ferry scandal, Rowley sought again to mislead the population, and cover up his Government’s incompetence with respect to the procurement of the vessels.

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.

Rowley’s unabashed attempt to divert attention from the allegations of corruption in this deal must be roundly condemned.  

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.

Rowley cannot continue to try to deflect blame for this scandal. I reiterate the Opposition’s position that as Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Rowley must accept responsibility for this debacle, and take immediate action to preserve the integrity of the investigatory process by removing the PATT Board and the line Minister Rohan Sinannan forthwith whilst the matter is under investigation.

Marlene McDonald MP was fired not once but twice for less than this fiasco.

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."