UNC to Government: If Galleons Passage is safe, explain Lloyd’s report which identifies close to 150 issues
“A National Scandal of epic proportions.” This is the way Opposition Senator Wade Mark described the Government’s acquisition of the Galleons Passage, as he reiterated the call for a criminal investigation into the matter.
Speaking at a media briefing held at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition on Wednesday 18th July, 2018, Senator Mark criticized the Government’s “spin doctor” in the person of Minister of Finance Colm Imbert, who he says keeps lying and trying to fool the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
“Minister Imbert was scathing in his condemnation of the Tsunami Marine report, claiming that it was ‘foolishness’ and that it was was two months old, but the document clearly shows that the survey was done from the 6-9 of June, while the boat was in Cuba,” Senator Mark said. “Minister Imbert also claimed all the issues were rectified before the ship got to Trinidad and Tobago.”
“He was quick to dismiss that report, but now, we’d like him to try to dismiss this report – the Lloyd’s Register Technical Support Office of Singapore published in July 2018, which shows close to 150 issues with the Galleons Passage,” the Opposition Senator said.
The report, he said, shows 92 non-compliances and 58 issues to be verified against the requirements of SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea 1974).
“The Prime Minister should take his band of merry men and women and travel to Tobago and back and test the vessel for themselves before they put any citizen’s life at risk,” he said. “Government could try to fool the people, but facts are very stubborn things.”
“We maintain that the Government has committed a criminal act against the people of Trinidad and Tobago with the procurement of this boat, and we call again for a criminal investigation into the issue,” the Opposition Senator said.
Senator Mark said the Opposition is contemplating filing a motion of privilege against Minister Imbert for knowingly lying to Parliament.
Opposition Senator Saddam Hosein, who also presented at the media briefing, said the Government continues to try to mislead, hoodwink and fool the people of this country.
“Ministers Colm Imbert and Rohan Sinanan failed to provide any assurance to the people of Trinidad and Tobago as to the safety of this vessel,” Senator Hosein said. “One can conclude from this report that this boat is substandard, of cheap build, and failed to meet safety requirements.”
“It is impossible for the Government to rectify all these deficiencies outlined in the Lloyd’s report within the two week timeframe identified by the Ministers to place the vessel on the seabridge,” Senator Hosein said. “What is even more alarming is that the Government indicated that the retrofitting would be conducted while the vessel is in service.”
He noted that three reports: Schulte Marine Concepts, Tsunami Marine Ltd (Lange report) and the July 2018 Lloyd’s report are all consistent with regard to the safety issues. It is a serious dereliction of duty on the part of these Ministers that they failed to disclose these safety concerns to the public, the Opposition Senator said.
“Another point of concern is that the Government, in purchasing this boat, paid for additional works, such as the installation of the canopy, which was not done as per the agreement,” Senator Hosein said. “The question to be asked is whether the people of Trinidad and Tobago stood a loss for these additional works, as all we’ve seen is a fresh coat of paint.”
Senator Hosein also raised the important issue of the three-year contract for Sea Transport to train a local crew. “What is the procurement process, and who will they be bringing to train local crew?
The Opposition maintains its call on the Government to account for this latest disaster regarding the Trinidad to Tobago seabridge, that is the purchase of this vessel.
Note to Editors: Please find attached a copy of the Lloyd’s Register Marine Compliance Review Against SOLAS Requirements Report