The Joint Select Committee on Land and Physical Infrastructure has recommended that an investigation be launched into the procurement of the Super Fast Galicia and the involvement of attorney Nyree Alfonso in the matter.
The JSC completed its work and submitted its report to Parliament on Wednesday.
However, the JSC, comprising Opposition, Independent and Government members, was split and two reports were laid in the Parliament – the substantive report from the JSC and a minority report.
The report of the JSC inquiring into the ferries, chaired by Stephen Creese, is over 300 pages long and contains over 60 recommendations, including one for a forensic audit into the procurement of the Super Fast Galicia.
But the Opposition UNC said it believes the committee work was cut short and the two Opposition members, Wade Mark and Rushton Paray, in their Minority Report, said they had taken note that “the entire procurement procedure for vessels to service the seabridge had been uprooted and moved to a place where it appears procurement is no longer subject to even the Central Tenders Board Regulations.”
In a letter to the committee’s secretary, Wade Mark raised a specific concern that the Moutett Report was to form part of the committee’s report.
He added, “Mr Mouttet’s Report includes quite a lot of information the particulars of which have never been discussed by the committee as a whole – instead some elements of the report were added over time based on a review by Parliamentary staff.”
Christian Moutett who was appointed by the Prime Minister to investigate “the circumstances surrounding the procurement of the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower 2 and the entering into the charter party agreements for these vessels”.
Mark said, “Most of Mr Mouttet’s work related to the Super Fast Galicia was rather scattershot and did not involve the taking of statements from most persons who had positions of authority at the time of procurement of the vessel.”
In the course of the inquiry, Port Authority official Leon Grant was suspended and then acting GM Charmaine Lewis was dismissed.
The JSC recommended that “an investigation be conducted by the relevant authorities into the circumstances surrounding the involvement of Ms Nyree Alfonso in the tendering exercise for the Super Fast Galicia as stated at a public inquiry of the committee held on September 5, 2017, and we further recommend that a forensic audit be conducted into all the circumstances surrounding the tendering exercise.”
On the procurement of the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower 2, the committee recommended that the Port Authority “follow the procurement procedures of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act, 2015, in the execution of its procedures and that it develop a vessel procurement manual in which Charter Party Agreements are mandatory.”
In its minority report, the Opposition members said they were “deeply concerned that there may have been retaliatory action taken against persons who provided information to the committee, i.e. several members were suspended and/or fired after having given testimony.”
They also expressed concern that three persons, Christine Sahadeo, Nyree Alfonso and Charmaine Lewis, were denied the opportunity to testify to speak to issues which were raised in public hearings against them.