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Tuesday 24 October 2017
Politics

Kamla: Secret deal in ferry scandal

Some $20 million paid by TT for the Ocean Flower II, which arrived in TT on Wednesday, cannot now be retrieved (despite contract cancellation), said Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, at a news briefing at her office yesterday.

“Letters of credit (LOC) are not revocable,” she said, citing Lord Diplock in a 1958 case. “The bank cannot withdraw from its liability to pay, even if instructed by the buyer to cancel the credit.”

She challenged Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to state what legal notice has been issued to FCB to revoke the letters of credit for Ocean Flower II and for Cabo Star.

She said the Ocean Flower II limped into Port-of-Spain yesterday saying it must dry-dock, yet when a box of bids for a fresh tender for a ferry was opened up on Wednesday that vessel had been re-submitted.

“So our country now has to pay for this boat over $20 million, all without doing sea-trials,” she said. “If you were buying an old car, you would test run the vehicle,” she added, scoffing that the Lloyd’s inspection had been limited to superficialities such as the boat’s signage.

Persad-Bissessar said the LOC payments kicked-in in two parts: when the charter-party was signed and when the vessel reached TT on Wednesday, an arrival she dubbed, “very suspicious.”

She then asked if someone getting a secret payment in the ferries deal.

She said charter-parties or ship-lease contracts for both the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower II contain a section 34 that suggested that Bridgeman’s must pay someone a commission, even aspersions being cast on the Port Authority of TT.

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