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Assemblyman: Board, Sinanan should be fired

Thursday, September 7, 2017
Dianne Hadad, with Stakeholder & Assemblyman Farley Augustine, Tobago House of Assembly-Member for Parlatuvier/L’Anse Fourmi/Speyside during the Joint Select Committee of Parliament in Tobago, yesterday. PHOTO: OFFICE OF THE PARLIAMENT

Minority member of the Tobago House of Assembly Farley Augustine wants the Port Authority of T&T board fired and “perhaps if it were my decision to make I will drop the board in the Bocas and ask them to swim.”

Augustine, who joined Minority Leader Watson Duke in a protest swim from Scarborough to Toco last week to highlight the sea bridge problems, made the comment yesterday before the Joint Select Committee looking into procurement and maintenance of the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower 2 on the inter-island service.

Augustine also suggested that works and transport Minister Rohan Sinanan be fired over the sea bridge fiasco.

According to Farley, it would be inconceivable for New York City governors to sit and watch the subway down for a week. Similarly, he said “the Central Government must see the inter-island service as a critical service akin to the subway in New York or London or the red band going to Arima.”

Both he and committee member Wade Mark were critical of THA Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles’ failure to attend the session. Farley said under the THA Act, the THA “has responsibility for infrastructure, including sea and air transportation.”

Tobago, he said, “cannot lay claims to greater autonomy without first laying claim to greater responsibility. We must take responsibility for what happened, the Executive Council has failed us on this matter, they have ducked the issue all along.”

Augustine said the ferry crisis had damaged the Tobago economy but it also affected Trinidadian businesses.

“We are purchasing goods and services from Trinidad businesses, truckers spend TT$100,000 every single day, that is a significant loss in economic terms.”

He said many other people were affected, including students, people wanting to join the police service and who could not make it to write their exams, as well as those travelling to Trinidad to attend to medical issues, because he said it was “impossible for the hospital in Tobago to provide 100 per cent of the medical treatment required.”

Augustine suggested the committee put “punitive measures” in place against those who “damage the public purse,” suggesting the crisis on the sea bridge was “created, it did not happen by accident, it was not an emergency.”


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