Cabinet-appointed investigator Christian Mouttet has met with the Port Authority's board of directors. Port Authority chairman Allison Lewis yesterday confirmed the meeting had taken place.
"Members of the board have met with Mr Mouttet," she told Newsday. She also said Mouttet, "has requested a number of documents which the Port is addressing. "
On August 15, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley appointed Mouttet to investigate the “circumstances surrounding the procurement of the Cabo Star and the Ocean Flower II and the entering into the charter party agreement for these vessels”. Mouttet is being provided with support from the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs. He is expected to submit his report to Rowley within 30 days.
At a news conference at the Magdalena Grand Hotel in Tobago on Monday, Rowley said he believed that something crooked happened in the procurement process for the Ocean Flower II. He defended Mouttet's appointment and said Mouttet's findings will not affect any other investigation into this matter. The Integrity Commission and the Land and Physical Infrastructure joint select committee (JSC) of the Parliament are also conducting enquiries into the procurement of these vessels.
The JSC will hold public hearings on this matter at Tower D of the Port-of-Spain International Waterfront Centre on September 4 and then at the Victor E Bruce Financial Complex in Scarborough on September 6. Lewis also disclosed that the Authority was successful in getting an extension on the license of the Cabo Star to transport passengers on the domestic seabridge. Lewis said, "I have been advised that the license was extended to November."
This was subsequently confirmed by TT Inter-Island Transportation Company marketing and public relations manager Vilma Lewis-Cockburn. "All certificates are valid," Lewis-Cockburn said. She also indicated, "There have not been any disruption in the sailings today." The Cabo Star is owned by Bridgemans Services Group LP of Canada. The vessel began its operations on the domestic seabridge on July 24.