The damaged equipment at the Bamboo #1, Valsayn pump site yesterday. The facility was damaged by an overnight arson attack.

There was an attempt to sabotage an aircraft at the Piarco International Airport, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley revealed on Thursday night.

Speaking at a People’s National Movement (PNM) post-Budget meeting in Belmont, he listed the incident as one of several attempts to “sabotage the successes” of his administration

“Somebody went in the repair shop at Piarco Airport, opened a panel on a plane and cut the wires on the panel. Had that aircraft gone up in the air, … you know what would have been the consequences?” Rowley said.

He said the incident occurred some time ago but had not been made public. He offered no further details.

“There are people in this country who find that the normal dose of bad news is not enough and when it is not enough they will create some for you,” he said.

Rowley also recounted an incident at the opening of the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba where they was an attempt to block the highway to prevent people from north Trinidad getting to the venue

“And some of them got inside and instead of watching the cricket, they went, take off their clothes and stuff it down in the sewer so the sewer could be choked to flood the boxes in the Brian Lara Stadium. You all remember that?” he asked

He said there had also been vandalism of toilets on one of seabridge ferries and, just recently, pumps installed at Bamboo No 1 to prevent flooding in that community were set on fire.

“If you know Bamboo No 1, it is a bowl-shaped area. The river is on one side … so whenever it rains and there is a lot of water from heavy rain, it naturally settles inside of Bamboo No 1 and that water will rise and rise in the houses because it cannot get out.

“Because the houses are lower than the bank of the river and so on, we have two pumps, big pumps, that pump the water out into the river so there is no flooding. Somebody went the other night and burn out the pumps, burn out the electrical panels.

“All you have to ask yourself is who stands to benefit if Bamboo No 1 is flooded? It has to be the people who make a speciality of flood politics,” he said.

Rowley, who defended measures in the 2020/21 Budget, said of those opposed to the Revenue Authority, the agency that will replace the Board of Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise Division, that “a reasonable argument can be made that they are for tax evasion.” He said his Government is going forward with establishing the Revenue Authority because it is good for the country.

In the case of the Port of Port-of-Spain, Rowley described it as an underperforming asset.

“If we have a proper, modern port in Port-of-Spain, it becomes a bigger contributor to our national economy. Try as we might, the best place for the Port of Port-of-Spain is not in the Ministry of Works. We tried that and it has failed,” he said.

“We have come to the conclusion that the best thing for the port is to put the port in private hands where you get the maximum contribution to the economy of Trinidad and Tobago by having an efficient port run by the private sector.”