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PM defends ferry sub-committee

Published: 
Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has defended his decision to put the responsibility for selecting a ferry for the sea bridge in the hand of a Cabinet sub-committee.

Rowley gave the responsibility to Ministers Colm Imbert, Stuart Young, Shamfa Cudjoe and Robert Le Hunte last week, after it was announced that the recent sixth tendering process attempted by the Port Authority of T&T had failed to secure as vessel for the sea bridge.

There was an outcry in some sectors of society following the decision, with some noting none of the ministers had the maritime expertise needed to undertake such a process and also the possibility of collusion in the award of any contract if Government had a preferred bidder.

But speaking during a sod turning ceremony for the $132 million 20 megawatt expansion of the Cove Power Plant at Canoe Bay in Tobago yesterday, Rowley said he took the decision because “I was not prepared to subject the people of Tobago and the people of Trinidad and Tobago to a seventh failure.”

He added: “Because when the boat is not there, when the service is not there, it is the Prime Minister and the Cabinet that you hold accountable, you give me the authority, you give me the responsibility and I will make sure that this boat here in Tobago before the not too distant future.”

Tobago stakeholders have been clamouring for a solution to the sea bridge woes, with businesses noting they have lost millions since the Super Fast Galicia ended its contract with the PATT.

Yesterday, however, Rowley seemed positive his Government would resolve the issue soon.

“I as Prime Minister took responsibility for ensuring that the Christmas season and the Carnival season does not meet Tobago without this very valuable piece of infrastructure.”

He said the Government is also going ahead with the development of a port at Toco, which is also being seen as a vital link to Tobago as well, and clearance is currently being sought by the Environmental Management Authority for development of the site.

LOYSE VINCENT

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