Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is not considering firing the board of the Port Authority even though it failed to procure a vessel for the sea bridge and Cabinet appointed a sub-committee to procure one.
Asked at yesterday’s sitting of the House of Representatives if he was considering firing the board, Rowley said, “It is easy to jump on the backs of those persons who serve.”
The members were volunteers who come from the public sector and serve the public’s interest, he said.
“In the fullness of time, if there is need for the board to be dismissed for wrongdoing, I would not hesitate.”
Asked if he had lost confidence in the board, as Cabinet has taken over its task of procuring a vessel for the sea bridge, Rowley said, “I have said nothing to support that inference.”
He added, “If it was not appropriate and satisfactory to set up the sub-committee, I would not have done it.”
Asked about the usefulness of the Christian Mouttet report, given that it made no recommendations, Rowley said the report showed PATT’s procurement process with respect to acquiring the Cabo Star involved corrupt practice. The Cabo Star, owned by Bridgeman’s Services, currently serves the sea bridge.
“As a result of that report, by documentation and inference,” he said, “Government is satisfied that the board of the port was denied pertinent information in a deliberate way so as to facilitate the selection of the Cabo Star, and the price paid could have been influenced by those circumstances.”
The contract with the Cabo Star, he said, was made “under duress meaning that pertinent information was hidden from the port, and the same thing was done with the Ocean Flower II by the same company.”
Asked if people would be fired for what took place, Rowley said, “I am not in a position to answer definitively.”
However, he said, he has seen suspensions and dismissals by the management of the port.
From a layman’s point of view, he said, fraud goes to the root of all contracts and in the case of the contract for the Cabo Star, he would expect in the public interest that the issue would be pursued, particularly with the price being paid and the selection of the vessel.