Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 14th 2017 Contents news A5
Thursday, September 14, 2017
...Condemns attacks against police
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
last night condemned members
of the public who have been
attacking police of icers while
they are conducting their duty.
Speaking at a 'Conversation
with the Prime Minister' at the
St Augustine Secondary School
last night, the PM referenced
recent attacks against of icers,
saying, "I want to condemn
those in communities who at-
tack the police when they are
carrying out law enforcement.
If you think the police is your
enemy think again."
Rowley said people must re-
member "one day, one hour
when the criminals attack, after
you call out to God you have to
call the police. So stop that fool-
He said in recent times there
had been an improvement in
the performance of the police.
But he said just like teachers,
doctors and others do the jobs
they are paid to do "crime ight-
ing is the duty of those under
Rowley also spoke to the dire
economic situation in the coun-
try, saying his Government was
committed to doing the best for
all the people.
"Government is about peo-
ple and decisions, dif icult as
they may be, must be about the
people," he said.
Referencing recent polls
which showed a decline in his
popularity, he said, "You did
not elect me to be popular.
Populist politics is what got us
where we are today."
In the past two years, he said
"given the hand we were dealt"
hard decisions had to be made.
His said Government did not
have the luxury to say "I will
give you this, I will give you
While trade unions, with
whom he met with yesterday,
were against a wage freeze, he
said the "only employees under
a wage freeze are parliamentar-
While there is no of icial pol-
icy on a wage freeze, Rowley
said the Government, which
has 89,000 public of icers on
its wage bill, was concerned
about ensuring people kept
their jobs and could put food
on their table.
It's a headache every month,
he said, for the Minister of Fi-
nance to meet the public ser-
vice wage bill and Government
had been borrowing to meet
But he assured the Govern-
ment has no policy to lay off
workers, saying "some con-
tracts may have come to an
end. But there is no policy to
manage the gap between ex-
penditure and revenue by mass
He said his Government has
also not pursued a devalua-
tion option. However, he said
Government is "duty bound
to bring down expenditure,"
given that in the short to me-
dium term "revenue is con-
stricted. We restrict what we
spend to grow revenue."
Whatever the Government
does he said had to be done
with "balance and compas-
sion, at the end of the day it is
all about people."
PM: Fake oil probe
must be proper one
Prime Minister Dr Keith Row-
ley says he expects the Petrotrin
board will call in independent
investigators to look into the fake
oil iasco involving A&V Drilling
Workover Limited, adding that a
proper investigation of the matter
He made the call during his
third 'Conversations with the
Prime Minister' at the St Augus-
tine Secondary School last night,
after being asked a direct ques-
tion by as member of the public
A&V Drilling is now at the
center of a scandal in which an
internal Petrotrin audit has found
the company was paid TT$80 mil-
lion for oil it did not produce.
During the segment and answer
period, a man asked Rowley if he
felt the matter should be inves-
tigated and A&V Drilling should
also be made to repay Petrotrin
"A proper investigation is re-
quired and I expect that the board
will let independent investigators
investigate that matter. And if
there is any area of corruption
and incompetence, then the
board will have to take corrective
actions," Rowley said.
He said this was what Govern-
ment had put the board, whom
he described as competent, in
of ice to do.
He added that if the investiga-
tion proves that anyone is culpa-
ble they will be held accountable.
However, he said if you want to
get something out of an investiga-
tion it should not be politicised.
"We don't want any political
scandal or foolishness," he said.
He added: "We will protect no
one with corrupt actions in Trini-
dad, whether friend or foe."
Asked by the same person if
PNM senator Allyson Baksh, the
daughter of A&V Drilling owner
Nazim Baksh, should be sus-
pended while the probe in on-
going, Rowley asked the man:
"Do you think that the daughter
should be suspended?"
When the man answered yes,
the PM said he disagreed.
"I listened to you, you are mak-
ing allegations against Ms Baksh,
that is dif icult to make."
Earlier during his chat with the
crowd, Rowley had also warned
that those involved in corrupt ac-
tivities would ind no solace in his
Repeating a previous statement
that the corruption which per-
meates all levels of society had
been one of the most dif icult
things for him to deal with since
he had come into of ice, he said:
"Persons who engage in corrupt
practices, whether you are PNM
or not, will ind no solace. Every
corrupt person must be held ac-
countable for their action."
A&V also bid
to provide boat
for sea bridge
A&V Drilling Workover Limited, the
company now at the centre of a
'fake oil' scandal at state-owned
Petrotrin, was one of the tenderers
in February 2016 for a vessel to re-
place the Super Fast Galicia.
Well-placed sources at the Port
Authority of T&T yesterday told the
T&T Guardian that because it was
"an open tender anyone was free
to bid. A&V submitted a bid. But
the tender process was scrapped."
Asked why the tender was
scrapped, the source referred the
question to the then PATT general
manager Leon Grant. However,
efforts to contact Grant, who is on
suspension from the Port, were
Former Works and Transport
Minister Stephen Cadiz posted a
message on his Facebook page
yesterday saying, "In Trinidad and
Tobago, if you dig a little deeper
what you might find is that a ferry
service and an oil drilling company
are actually one of the same."
Contacted by the T&T Guardian
about the post, Cadiz said his infor-
mation is that "at a meeting in the
board room of the Port Authority
when the tenders were opened on
February 26th, 2016, five tenders
were opened. The fifth in the sum
of TT$36 million was determined to
be the 'best bid on the table.'"
The Port, he said, agreed to
award the contract to tender five,
which was submitted in the name
of A&V Drilling, but "no vessel was
identified in the submission. The
tender is then abruptly cancelled."
The tender process took place
while the Super Fast Galicia was
still operating the sea bridge. A
second tender process took place
in July 2016, but the T&T Guardian
was unable to determine whether
A&V Drilling submitted another
Attempts to speak to the owner
of A&V Drilling, Nazim Baksh, were
again unsuccessful yesterday.
A male voice at his Penal-based
company said: "Mr Baksh is still out
of the country." He could provide
no information on when he would
return. - RS
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, left, chats with the audience during 'Conversations with the Prime Minister' at the
St Augustine Secondary School last night.
PICTURE ABRAHAM DIAZ
Links Archive September 13th 2017 September 15th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page