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Thursday 18 January 2018
Politics

Bridgeman's: We’ve been dragged through mud

It is still unclear exactly how Bridgeman’s got to bid to supply two ferries for the Tobago to Trinidad sea-bridge, after Bridgeman’s vice-president Andrew Purdey’s account was different to details offered by Opposition Senator Wade Mark, at yesterday’s sitting of the Joint Select Committee (JSC) probing the inter-island ferry service.

Replying to queries from Mark, Purdey said Bridgeman’s had its operations at Melville Street, Vancouver, and its corporate offices were at their legal firm Norton Rose Fullbright. He named Bridgeman’s owners as himself, Brian Grange, Larry Thompson, Peter Patel and Paul Chung.

Mark asked if Bridgeman’s was registered for tax, VAT, NIS and health surcharge.

Purdey said Bridgeman’s was registered at the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) and he thought it was registered for VAT, but couldn’t say about the two latter.

Purdey’s associate, Lester Kenny, of Ken’s Shipping and Marine Services chimed in to say Bridgeman’s had been in TT for just a short period, but they were trying to set up Bridgeman’s Trinidad. Purdey told Mark he would ensure Bridgeman’s was registered to get a BIR tax clearance certificate.

He said Bridgeman’s was registered in 2013 and now owns four vessels, including the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower 2.

Purdey said Bridgeman’s had six staff at its Vancouver office and 100 operationally across the group’s profile. While Mark said Bridgeman’s seemed to be a mystery, with some registration in Estonia, Purdey said all Bridgeman’s entities involved in the sea-bridge were registered in Canada.

Purdey alleged that the media had given the issue destructive coverage, driven by some agenda. He said, “We’ve been dragged through the mud.”

Kenny added, “We’ve been brutalised by our media.” Mayaro MP Rushton Paray said that for Bridgemans to win the bid for the two ferries, their documented background must be excellent but he had seen it nowhere. Purdey promised to supply the documentation, within the remit of confidentiality and the requirements of the parliamentary system.

Purdey told Paray Bridgemans was a limited partnership, not a company.

Purdey said he hoped to work with the Port Authority of TT (PATT) to get a “cooperative outcome” to the fate of the Ocean Flower II (whose lease was cancelled due to lateness.

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