The Tobago Ferry issue has now landed at an unfortunate impasse, with the PM chairing a meeting of Stakeholders next week Monday.
The loud allegations of corruption and bad practice are as varied as the defensive claims by public officials, so once again we seem to be in a cloudy place. Some real clarity is needed urgently, if we are to restore public confidence, not to mention the required level of service for the Tobago Ferry.
Given that both Minister Sinanan and Port Authority Chair, Ms Alison Lewis, have welcomed any investigation into this matter, immediate steps need to be taken to clear the air by publishing these details –
- Ultimate Beneficial Owner – Who is the Ultimate Beneficial Owner of Bridgman’s Service Group? This is an elementary part of any due diligence process and should be readily available;
- Tender Evaluations – The Tender Evaluation Reports for the several tender exercises undertaken to replace the Superfast Galicia, including those aborted or suspended exercises. The 39th recommendation of the Uff Report is directly applicable to this fiasco –
“…The reviewing of tenders and the making of decisions upon the award of contracts should be undertaken in as transparent a manner as possible, including demonstrating clear compliance with procurement rules, so as to allay suspicion of improper actions or potential corrupt influences…”
We continue to ignore those findings to our collective detriment.;
- Ferry Contracts – The contracts for the Cabo Star and the now-cancelled Ocean Flower Two must now be published in the interests of transparency and accountability.
The public is paying for this Ferry arrangement, both in terms of actual Public Money and in terms of the tremendous inconvenience and losses, so there can be no reasonable case for further concealment of these critical details.
Port of Spain