Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinan has said he knew something was wrong with the procurement process for the Ocean Flower 2 and requested that the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago give him a full report on the procurement even before Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley appointed a sole investigator to investigate the same.
Sinanan told Newsday today that due to the need for further information he has given the PATT’s board of directors by next weekend to submit the report.
On the non arrival of Ocean Flower 2 by the contract’s deadline, he said, he knew something was wrong. “That is why, I, as minister, have asked for a full report on the procurement even before the Prime Minister asked for the investigation.”
He said he was looking forward to PATT’s full report and the one commissioned by Cabinet.
On calls for him to resign while being assigned blame for the current ferry sea bridge fiasco and not renewing the charter party agreement for the Superfast Galicia whose term expired in April 2016, six months before he was appointed Minister of Works and Transport, Sinanan said that if he has to resign, "I wouldn’t resign until this thing is clear. I have nothing to worry about. If you don’t have cocoa in the sun you don’t have to worry about rain.”
On the Galicia, he said, it had been operating on a month to month contract since April 2016. It left Trinidad and Tobago in April 2017.
When he took office in November 1, he said, during the first week he recognised there was a problem on the port. He said he met with the charterers of the Galicia in December and they requested a five-year contract, or the vessel would leave. When they met again in January, he said, the charterers placed on the table a three-year plus two-year contract. The proposals by the charterers, he said, were not accepted. The Galicia was still operating on a month to month contract when it left in April. At no time did the charterers proposed an 18 month contract, he said. The vessel has since been replaced by the Cabo Star which is being leased by Bridgeman’s Group Services, the same charterer that has leased the Cabo Star.
Asked if he would support the board in spite of Rowley’s finding something “crooked” with the procurement, Sinanan said, “So far I have gone through the process that was available to the board. I have seen no way, where I can indict the board based on the information that I have.”
He was not surprised by Rowley’s “crooked” comment, he said, because the Prime Minister will always have more information than him as information he gets as Prime Minister he may not get as a minister.
On the Ocean Flower 2 leaving Panama and making its way to Curacao speculatively on its way to Trinidad and Tobago, Sinanan said, “Anybody is free to carry their boat wherever want. We do not have a contract with them at this time.”