The Ocean Flower 2 bacchanal … SUSPENDED CEO TO SUE

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Leon Grant, the acting CEO of the Inter-Island Transportation Company Ltd at the Port Authority, who was suspended on Tuesday night, intends to take legal action against the State-owned company.

Grant, along with PATT general manager Charmaine Lewis, received suspension letters on Tuesday, hours after the Port board held a marathon meeting on Monday dealing with the award of contracts to Bridgemans Services Group LP for the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower 2 to service the sea bridge.

In a press release late Tuesday, the Port Authority said it had launched an investigation into the procurement process used to acquire both sea vessels after receiving new information which suggested the management evaluation committee stage of the procurement process may have been compromised in relation to the time charter of the vessels to service the inter-island sea bridge.

The Port Authority further stated that it had put measures in place to ensure the investigation was satisfactorily executed and that steps have been taken to facilitate the investigation consistent with proper industrial relations practices.

Grant contacted his attorneys soon after he received his suspension letter from the Port Authority.

Auditors of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), upon instructions, entered the Port Authority’s offices following the suspensions and seized several computers, hard drives, company cell phones and other electronic devices.

It was alleged that a letter, dated August 7, 2017 that was sent to Charmaine Lewis, which was leaked to the media, may have been what led to the suspensions. It contained information about the Ocean Flower 2’s failed inspection from the Port’s chief engineer, Brendon Powder.

Powder had ruled that the 21-year-old passenger vessel may not have been suitable to service the sea bridge because of mechanical problems and explosion risks identified during the sea trial he conducted in Panama. He instead recommended that the vessel should remain in Colon, Panama, to urgently attend all repairs prior to its sailing to Trinidad. Powder and a team of Port officials, including Grant, visited Panama to inspect the Ocean Flower over the period July 30 to August 6.

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