The Ocean Flower scandal …MARK: “THERE IS A STENCH”

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Opposition Senator, Wade Mark, says there is a stench in the bacchanal surrounding the procurement of the Ocean Flower 2 vessel.

And he cannot wait for Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to appear before the Joint Select Committee (JSC) to answer questions.

Mark, a member of the JSC probing problems on the sea bridge, said on December 16, 2015, the PNM Government, through a letter written by Pamela Ford, took the decision to terminate the Galicia contract.

“So it is nothing about ransom,” he insisted.

He said this decision was taken days after the Port Authority had appointed a new board, who in turn instruct the ministry to take measures to end and terminate the Galicia’s contract.

“So when they are looking for the real root of the crisis, I am saying the blame has to go all around.”

Mark said what was strange was days after the 2015 general election, Bridgemans Services LP, a virtually unknown company, was established.

He also queried from the Ministry of Works and Transport’s acting permanent secretary Sonia Francis-Yearwood, if her ministry had executed a note which had been submitted to Cabinet for an 18-month extension of the Galicia.

Mark asked, “Did the ministry prepare a Cabinet note on this matter at the time of this unanimous agreement, including the Minister of Works and Transport?”

Francis-Yearwood said the ministry had no record of a Cabinet note being submitted for an 18-month charter. She said if a note was prepared, submitted and withdrawn, the ministry would have it on file.

Mark added, “So you are telling me that the team that is here, headed by you, have no recollection of a Cabinet note being generated by the ministry to execute an agreement that was unanimously agreed upon by the board and management of the Port Authority, by the permanent secretary and the minister? So there is no recollection of a note being prepared?”

Mark said the ministry “was guilty of dereliction of duty and failed to generate a Cabinet note” for the vessel’s extension.

Instead, Mark said the ministry stalled and refused to do anything.

“So if that is not dereliction of duty, then the ministry and its officers must take full responsibility for the crisis that has taken place in Tobago. Because my information is that the Cabinet note was generated. It was taken to the Cabinet by the minister and it was rejected by Cabinet.” 
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