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Suruj seeks probe of Bridgemans’ funding to buy Ocean Flower 2

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Canadian anti-corruption authorities must investigate Canada-based Bridgemans’ Services Group’s (BSG) source of funding to buy the “Ocean Flower 2,” since there are rumours in T&T the money came from a particular car dealer, says UNC MP Suruj Rambachan.

Rambachan made the call in Parliament yesterday in piloting a motion of no-confidence against Works Minister Rohan Sinanan.

Calling for Prime Minister DR Keith Rowley to revoke Sinanan’s appointment, Rambachan listed failures under Sinanan’s tenure, particularly with the Tobago seabridge. He cited procurement and operation of vessels marred by allegations of corruption and nepotism, widespread stakeholder criticism and public uproar.

Accusing Sinanan of negligence, he said Sinanan presided over use of vessels with serious safety defects, risking lives and noted calls for Sinanan’s removal from a wide cross section of T&T stakeholders.

Rambachan called for a Government conscience vote on the motion and on Tobago East and West MPs - and Tobago-born PNM MP Rowley to express how they feel. Rambachan said Sinanan as minister was ultimately responsible for Port Authority actions and with the widespread public indictments against him, he should have resigned.

He particularly took issue with Sinanan’s removal of the “Galicia” from the seabridge, which started problems, and contracting of BSG’s vessels.

Rambachan noted BSG didn’t have a vessel until after arrangements for the “Ocean Flower 2” were finalised. He cited a Dun and Bradstreet report claiming BSG was “broke,” yet later (US)$5.5 million was found to buy the boat.

“Where did the money come from? I’m asking the Canadian parliament, government and anti-corruption authorities to seek answers on where BSG got the funding, as there are rumours it came from a particular car dealer in T&T,” he added.

Claiming mishandling of recent dry docking schedules for the T&T Spirit and Express, Rambachan noted a 2017 report detailing a host of issues with both - yet the vessels had been used with all of that ongoing.

On the expected Galleons Passage arrival, Rambachan expressed concern over whether it could handle the rough water between Trinidad and Tobago. He noted current vessels are 93 metres long, but the Galleons Passage is 74 metres.


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