OSHA denies Indarsingh's allegations on Paria investigation

Rudranath Indarsingh. Angelo Marcelle
Rudranath Indarsingh. Angelo Marcelle

The Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA) has denied statements by Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh that its chief inspector Shevon Ali resigned over being forced to sign the preliminary report into the accident at Paria Fuel Trading Co Ltd.

Four LMCS divers died after they were sucked into a 30-inch underwater pipeline on February 25.

In a release on Sunday, OSHA said Ali resigned on April 5 when his contract came to an end. It said Ali was engaged on a month-to-month basis.

“On April 5, 2022 his contract came to an end at which point he indicated to the Agency that he was not interested in renewing his contract. Ali indicated to the chairman of the OSH Authority that while he enjoyed his job and had an excellent working relationship with all the staff at the OSH Agency, the month-to-month contractual arrangement was untenable and therefore he was not going to re-engage. He denied that his decision was borne out of any conflict with anyone in the agency.”

The agency said chairman Dr Victor Coombs spoke to Ali about his decision to resign, and said he had contacted the Labour Ministry’s permanent secretary who said a note would go to Cabinet to correct the issue of month-to-month contracts in the agency.

In a post on his Facebook page, Indarsingh asked whether Ali resigned because the preliminary report was tampered with, allegedly by the OSHA chairman and executive director. He also asked whether an acting chief inspector has been appointed after Ali’s resignation.

OSHA said it immediately appointed Franz Brisbane as chief inspector, in recognition of the critical role and function of the chief inspector to the operations of the agency, and the overall safety and health of the population. It said Brisbane was appointed as a suitably qualified person as an interim measure to ensure the seamless continuation of its regulatory functions and the LMCS/Paria investigation in particular.

“Any statement that expressly or implicitly suggests that Mr Ali’s departure from the agency was coerced is a falsehood and not grounded in any truth. The OSH Agency is in the process of compiling its preliminary report into the accident at Paria Fuel Trading Company Limited. Therefore, the suggestion that the former chief inspector was being pressured to sign a report that is still not yet complete is patently false. Moreover, Ali was responsible for assembling the investigative team and providing technical oversight. However, not being the primary investigator, he would not have been a signatory to the report.”

OSHA said it was still trying to gather evidence for the report but has been hampered by attorneys for the surviving diver and LMCS.


"OSHA denies Indarsingh’s allegations on Paria investigation"

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