Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 17th 2017 Contents news A5
Thursday, August 17, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Sinanan upset no
sea bridge solution yet
Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan
is admitting to being "disappointed" that four
months after the new board of the Port Authority
of T&T has assumed office, a solution is yet to be
found to the sea bridge crisis.
In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yes-
terday, Sinanan said, "As line Minister, I really would have
hoped by now that we would have had two vessels, I am
disappointed that we don't have the vessels."
Sinanan also said he had no information about prob-
lems being experienced with the cargo vessel the Cabo
After months of searching, the board announced in
late June that it had leased the passenger ferry the Ocean
Flower 2 and the Cabo Star to replace the Super Fast
Galicia on the sea bridge between Trinidad and Tobago.
The Ocean Flower 2 never made it to Trinidad and the
contract has since been cancelled, but the Cabo Star has
been transporting cargo across the two islands.
However, Inter-Island Trailers and Truckers Associ-
ation president Horace Amede told the T&T Guardian
that the Cabo Star is fraught with problems. He said
it "is overrun with vermin, the air-conditioning is not
working and some of the toilets are not working." The
docking ramp on the vessel is also said to be "inadequate"
and has created problems for the truckers. In addition,
the vessel is also yet to be certified to carry the number
of truckers who need to use it.
Well-placed sources told the T&T Guardian the vessel
was configured for cargo and is not licensed to trans-
port the over 100 truckers who need to use the vessel.
Reconfiguration of the vessel, the T&T Guardian was
told, would "cost a tidy sum."
Sinanan said no information on the problems raised
by the truckers with regard to the Cabo Star had come
to him directly, but he had heard of them in the media.
Both the Cabo Star and the Ocean Flower 2 were leased
from Bridgemans Services Limited, a Canadian company.
Both are now the subject of investigation by the Integ-
rity Commission and the sole investigator appointed by
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, businessman Christian
Moutett. The Port Authority is also conducting its own
In a statement on Tuesday night, the Port said hav-
ing received information that the procurement process
"may have been compromised," an investigation into
the procurement process had been commissioned, and
measures had been put in place in order to ensure that
the investigation is satisfactorily executed.
Last week, Sinanan announced the decision to cancel
the Ocean Flower 2 contract after it failed to meet sev-
eral target dates for its arrival to this country, which was
July 17. A damning report from the PATT chief engineer
Brendon Powder had also given the vessel a failing grade
and recommended it stay on in Panama to address critical
mechanical issues he detected during an inspection there.
Yesterday, Sinanan said the Port Authority will be go-
ing out to tender for another passenger vessel, but he
could not say when this would be done or the length of
time the process will take, adding, "We have to go through
the proper process even if it means taking a long time. We
will not want to hear allegations as is happening now."
Of the unfolding events, he said: "In politics I expect
Efforts to contact both Port CEO Charmaine Lewis
and chairman Allison Lewis were unsuccessful yesterday
as they did not answer calls.
threatens to sue
RHONDOR DOWLAT/SHALIZA HASSANALI
Hours after Leon Grant was suspended
as acting CEO of the Inter-Island Trans-
portation Company Ltd at the Port Au-
thority of T&T (PATT) he threatened legal
action against the State-owned company.
Grant, along with PATT general manager
Charmaine Lewis, received suspension letters
on Tuesday, hours after the PATT board held
a marathon meeting on Monday dealing with
the award of contracts to Bridgemans Services
Group LP for the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower
2 to service the sea bridge.
According to sources close to PATT, certain
evidence came to hand which led them to be-
lieve the procurement process for the vessels
may have been compromised.
"The information received was startling
and blatant," the source said.
In a press release late Tuesday, PATT said
it had launched an investigation into the
procurement process used to acquire both
sea vessels after receiving new information
which suggested the management evaluation
committee stage of the procurement process
may have been compromised in relation to
the time charter of the vessels to service the
inter-island sea bridge.
PATT further stated that it had put meas-
ures in place to ensure the investigation was
satisfactorily executed and that steps have
been taken to facilitate the investigation
consistent with proper industrial relations
According to legal sources, Grant contacted
his attorneys soon after he received his sus-
pension letter from PATT and was up to yes-
terday locked in meetings with his lawyers.
Grant, who has over 33 years' service, is said
to be shocked over his sudden suspension, an
attorney told the T&T Guardian.
"Grant has spent his whole life at the port
and one of the things he has considered was
taking legal action," a legal source said.
The T&T Guardian understands that audi-
tors of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), upon
instructions, entered PATT's offices following
the suspension and seized several computers,
hard drives, company cell phones and other
A PATT worker said shortly after the audit-
ing firm zeroed in on the computers, the inter-
net at the office was disconnected and had not
been reconnected up to yesterday, impeding
the work at several departments. Also, some
workers could not gain entry into the building
on Tuesday night unless they presented their
identification badges to port police.
Some sources believe a letter dated August
7, 2017 that was sent to Lewis, which was
leaked to the media, may have been what led
to the suspensions. It contained information
about the Ocean Flower 2's failed inspection
from PATT chief engineer Brendon Powder.
Powder had ruled that the 21-year-old pas-
senger vessel may not have been suitable to
service the sea bridge because of mechanical
problems and explosion risks identified dur-
ing the sea trial he conducted in Panama. He
instead recommended that the vessel should
remain in Colon, Panama, to urgently attend
all repairs prior to its sailing to Trinidad. Pow-
der and a team of PATT officials, including
Grant, visited Panama to inspect the Ocean
Flower over the period July 30 to August 6.
The source said they had been trying to
find out who had retained PWC in the matter.
"Is PWC going to take the personal ma-
terial that they have seized and hand it over
to Christian Mouttet, who was named as the
sole investigator by the Prime Minister hours
before the seizure? Remember what they have
seized is people's private information they are
going with. If they take that into custody, who
is going to give them permission to hand that
over to someone else?"
The source said this could also be seen as
an invasion of privacy.
Yesterday, workers at PATT's administra-
tive building at Dock Road, Port-of-Spain,
remained hush-hush about Grant's suspen-
sion. The few employees who spoke said they
were all saddened, as they viewed Grant to be
a hard and dedicated worker.
"Today is really a sad day at the office. Many
of us did not even know that Mr Grant was
suspended yesterday (Tuesday). I worked
with him for three years and he always went
the extra mile for the company," said a female
worker who requested anonymity for fear of
Another employee said Grant's suspension
was not discussed among staff.
"Everybody went about their work today as
normal without bringing up the topic because
they feel they would be targeted by manage-
ment. Everyone is staying silent on the issue
but really don't like what is going on. So who
is next?" the employee said.
Several calls to Works and Transport Minis-
ter Rohan Sinanan's cell phone and the PWC's
office went unanswered yesterday, while
chairman of the PATT Alison Lewis did not
respond to a text message. Calls to Grant's cell
phone also went straight to voice mail and he
did not return the call.
PWC seizes personal items in ferry probe fiasco
Former West Indies batting legend Brian Lara autographs a bat for Beetham Gardens resident Learie Morris yesterday, after Lara's
'Pop up Museum' rolled into the community. (See page A46) PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
PRINCE POPS UP IN BEETHAM
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