Promising that legal action will be filed before the second anniversary of the tragic deaths of four LMCS divers while working on a Paria pipeline, attorney Prakash Ramadhar says he aims to restore dignity to affected families who were ill-treated while their loved ones' struggled for breath inside a Paria-owned pipeline two years ago.
Speaking on the Morning Brew on Monday, Ramadhar said he will be writing to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley requesting a copy of the concluded Commission of Enquiry (COE) report.
Beyond seeking financial compensation, Ramadhar noted the families' pursuit of criminal charges aims for accountability against those who abandoned the men in the pipeline, hindering any rescue attempts on that fateful day-February 25th, 2022."
The attorney condemned the ongoing disrespect, particularly evident during the COE proceedings, where certain responsible parties from Paria defended their actions, deeming abandoning the four men in the pipelines as justifiable.
Saying he was not troubled by the evidence which came out in the Enquiry, Ramadhar said he was interested in the recommendations made by the chairman Jerome Lynch KC in the COE report, which was submitted to President Christine Kangaloo last Thursday.
The President's communications advisor Cheryl Lala confirmed that the report was given to the Office of the Prime Minister on the same day.
"In terms of evidence, I want to indicate that it is our intention to file legal actions. We were prepared to do that earlier this year but having regard to the timeliness and availability of the COE report, we held our hand," Ramadhar explained.
He added: "Certainly we will be ready to proceed, more so with that COE Report in hand."
Noting that the recommendations of the report are integral to how the different parties deal with each other, Ramadhar said pre-action protocol letters had been sent to Paria Fuel Trading Company and LMCS.
"Of course, Paria responded effectively saying they are not liable but having regard to evidence that came out of the Commission, I will find it unpalatable for them to hold on to that position," Ramadhar said.
However, if Paria insists it is not culpable, the government can issue an ex-gratia payment until the court makes a final order, Ramadhar pointed out.
"One of the things we wish to avoid is to prevent some level of closure. We have families in dire need who cannot make ends meet," Ramadhar said.
During the previous Christmas, Ramadhar mentioned that one of the families organized a barbecue event to gather funds.
Each of the divers—Fyzal Kurban, Kazim Ali Jr, Rishi Nagassar, and Yusuf Henry—was the primary provider for their respective households. Ramadhar is advocating for the children and families of the Kurbans, Nagassar, and Henry.
The men were killed on February 25, 2022, after disappearing into a pipeline during an underwater maintenance exercise. A fifth diver, Christopher Boodram, survived.
LMCS company, a sub-contractor of Paria Fuel Trading Company, had hired the divers to execute maintenance works on Sealine 36 situated between Berth 5 and 6 when the tragedy occurred.
Following the public outcry, a Commission of Equiry was held to determine who was responsible.