The Port Authority has failed, the Minister of Works and Transport has failed. There were six tenders which failed.
Now Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has turned to the National Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (NIDCO) to source a roll on/roll off vessel for the Trinidad to Tobago sea bridge.
Is NIDCO able to find a vessel before Christmas, as Rowley has promised? Will NIDCO go to the owners of the Ocean Flower 2 which is on dry dock in Chaguaramas and bring that vessel to the table?
Speaking n Tobago on Monday, Rowley said he was left disappointed when he learnt the Port Authority Board could make no recommendation.
He added, “I thought that out of 13 vessels will come one, and I did indicate to the minister and his subordinates that as soon as the port process is complete, as soon as the process and the board took a position to say that we have selected a vessel to recommend to the Ministry of Works, I would call the Cabinet in an emergency session, whatever day of the week, so Cabinet will look at it and approve what the board has recommended.
“Then I was told by the Ministry of Works that the port has reported that the process has failed and they have not been able to recommend any of the vessels that have been in the process.”
He said that as a result, he had to put other measures in place for ensuring the Christmas and Carnival seasons did not meet Tobago without this very valuable piece of infrastructure.
Rowley continued, “I appointed a sub-committee of Cabinet which includes the Minister of Public Utilities, the Minister of Finance, the Minister in the office of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Tourism, to go through another process. It is quite acceptable using Nidco, a state enterprise, the same one that had bought the Express, the Spirit and the water taxis, to use that process under the watchful eye of the Cabinet sub-committee, and go to international brokers and find a vessel which meets our needs. The Cabinet will ensure this process comes to a satisfactory completion and there is a boat here at the earliest opportunity.”
DR KEITH ROWLEY