Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Monday questioned whether proper procurement procedures were followed regarding the purchase of a ship from Asia for the domestic seabridge. In a televised address to the nation on Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said a Cabinet sub-committee, using the National Infrastructure Development Company as the contracting party, found a new ferry to service the seabridge.
He said, “During the search a suitable new vessel which had not yet been put into service was found by one broker and this vessel was available for sale.
“We had all the necessary inspection, examination certification checks and sea trials were done on this vessel and, after all satisfactory reports were obtained, steps have now been taken to purchase this vessel which, on completion of this process, should arrive in the country within weeks from a port in Asia.”
Addressing a news conference at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Port of Spain, Persad-Bissessar asked whether this would be another one of the Government’s “broken promises.”
She claimed the use of the Cabinet sub-committee breached proper public procurement procedures.
Persad-Bissessar said no one has any details about this vessel, including its cost and whether it has been purchased or leased.
While welcoming Rowley’s statement that Government intends to restructure Petrotrin, Persad-Bissessar said he was silent on the fake oil scandal at the company. She agreed with Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal’s call to “send it to the police.” She also suggested that the UWI South Campus be completed and turned into an integrated facility for the introduction of certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees including those for the protective services and judicial offices. Claiming that Rowley came across as a “cry baby” in his address, Persad-Bissessar asked the Prime Minister, “How long will you blame Kamla and the (People’s) Partnership?” She alleged this was what Rowley used his address to do. Persad-Bissessar reiterated the Opposition’s view that Rowley is unfit to be prime minister. She also claimed that under Rowley, there have been efforts to censor freedom of expression in TT.