Minister of Works and Transport, Rohan Sinanan, on Tuesday night denied that he was involved in the procurement of the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower 2 vessels.
Sinanan appeared before the Land and Physical Infrastructure Joint Select Committee (JSC). Questioned about the procurement of the Cabo Star cargo vessel and Ocean Flower 2 passenger ferry for the sea bridge, Sinanan said, “In no way would I be involved in procurement.
“The Minister has nothing to do with the signing of any charter party agreement.”
Sinanan said after assuming office last November, it became apparent that the port and ferry service, were heading for a crisis.
Sinanan said the problems with the TT Spirit and TT Express were the result of poor maintenance over the years.“This is an experience for the country that we need to pay attention to maintenance.” He said in some countries, aluminium hull vessels (like the Spirit and Express) are taken out of service once they pass 15 years. He described the situation with the Super Fast Galicia as as case of commercial advantage where the provider threatened to pull the vessel out of service if a certain arrangement was not agreed to.
Sinanan confirmed the former port board chaired by Christine Sahadeo never approved a five-year extension for the Galicia. He also confirmed the request for that extension came from the port’s management.
Sinanan said he was not prepared to commit the country to extending the Galicia’s contract at a cost of over $200 million, without a tendering process. He also said the Galicia’s abrupt departure in April had to to do with unresolved issues since 2014 under the then People’s Partnership government.