The United National Congress (UNC) is appalled by the Government’s dismissive response by the Government regarding the endangerment of more than 50 people on board the Water Taxi on its way from Tobago to Trinidad yesterday. In a statement, today the Party’s PRO Senator Anita Haynes said the following:
While the country looked on in horror as 50 of our brothers and sisters were trapped in vessel on fire, while we were hearing reports of the Trini Flash taking on water, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan’s response was that this was a “little mishap”.
The response from the Keith Rowley Administration to the collapse of the sea-bridge and the ensuing fall-out has been callous, arrogant and dismissive from day one. However, as the situation has worsened, as a direct result of their incompetence, the Government has become even more defensive.
The lives of more than 50 people being put in danger because of the Government’s inability to find a solution to a problem they created, is not a “little mishap” or “an unfortunate situation” it is in fact grounds for immediate dismissal.
The country is fed up of the excuses and distraction tactics of this Government. We were assured by Minister Sinanan that the T&T Spirit would be back in service by March 23, this has not happened. We were assured that there would measures put in place to ensure that inter-island travel during the usually busy and lucrative Easter weekend would be seamless, this also has not happened. Instead we have seen 50 lives endangered because of a lack of planning by the Government and then to add insult to injury they attempt to dismiss the situation.
When it’s all said and done we are glad everyone is safe and we hope that nothing like this ever happens again, the safety of our citizens should always be our highest priority.
Further, the UNC commends all those who participated in rescuing the passengers from the Trini Flash Ferry, they are the true heroes here today. We are happy that they were brought to safety.
However, there are important questions which need to be asked about the bungling that continues to occur in the management of the sea bridge. Amongst these questions are the following
1. Is the Trini Flash suitable for the rough waters compared to the waters of the Gulf between North and South
2. When was the last time that this boat went through mandatory examinations and if so who conducted these examinations
3. Was this boat scheduled for dry docking and if so when
4. When was the last time that the boat was dry docked for the maintenance consistent with its age and number of hours sailed
5. When was the last certificate of sea worthiness granted
6. How long did it take for the coast guard to arrive and what role did they play in the rescue operations
7. How many life vests were available on the vessel
The UNC condemns the Government’s flippant response, and calls once again on the Prime Minister to act on the collapse of the Trinidad to Tobago sea-bridge. We further call on the Prime Minister to break on his silence, since he hasn’t spoken on this matter since calling the procurement process for the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower 2 a crooked deal.