TABAQUITE MP Dr Surujrattan Rambachan yesterday accused Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley of protecting Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan against people who blame him for the collapse of the domestic seabridge. Rambachan made this accusation as he opened debate on a no-confidence motion against Sinanan in the House of Representatives.
The United National Congress (UNC) MP recalled that Rowley praised Sinanan on September 7, 2015, for the role he played in helping the People’s National Movement (PNM) to win that year’s general elections. Rambachan claimed that Rowley was allowing his friendship with Sinanan to trump other matters, critical to the national interest.
While insisting that he had nothing personal against Sinanan, Rambachan alleged that as minister, there was negligence and squandermania his watch. He challenged Leader of Government Business Camille Robinson-Regis to “lift the whip” to allow PNM MPs to have a conscience vote on the motion.
Rambachan said he wanted to hear the views of Rowley, Tobago West MP Shamfa Cudjoe and Tobago East MP Ayanna Webster-Roy about how problems with the seabridge affected Tobago. He claimed the Cabo Star cargo vessel was leased at a cost of US$22, 500 per day.
Rambachan asked why the contract for the Cabo Star was renewed, despite complaints from several groups about its performance. He also asked why there was no follow up when Rowley said he believed there was something crooked in the procurement of the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower II fast ferry.
As he reminded MPs about the cancellation of the Ocean Flower II’s contract, Rambachan demanded the Canadian government and parliament investigate whether Bridgemans Service Group was qualified as a vessel provider. He condemned Government for putting people’s lives at risk when the water taxi Trini Flash caught fire off Trinidad’s north coast in March.
Rambachan claimed that in South Korea, a prime minister resigned when a ferry capsized. He also said claims were made against an attorney in order to scuttle the contract with the Super Fast Galicia.
He alleged that a report by Cabinet appointed investigator Christian Mouttet into the procurement process for the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower II was intended to cover up corruption in that process. Rambachan said there was no draft contract in place to govern the operations of the Atlantic Provider and Trinity Transporter barge, which initially replaced the Galicia on the seabridge.