Rowley: A conspiracy to block Aussie shipbuilders from T&T

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Austal’s Chief Executive Officer David Singleton touring the shipyard in Perth. PHOTO: OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER


There are forces trying to derail plans by the government to acquires two new ferries to operate and service the inter-island seabridge Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has revealed.

He described plot as the “Horror in Hobart.”

Even as government announced plans for the purchasing two new ferries to service the seabridge, he said there was a plot to block communication with the Australian shipbuilding company International Catamarans (INCAT), that could have reduce the impact of challenges by private citizens and business operators.

While in Tazmania, related Rowley, the T&T delegation learnt of correspondence issued by Austal, to the Port Authority of T&T. In the correspondence, the Australian company revealed it had vessels anchored in this country which could have helped prevented the collapse of the seabridge. But it seems public officers with that information hid it.

“When we were desperately looking for a ferry to service Tobago, to allow the Spirit and the Express to go into dry-dock there were people on the Government payroll in T&T, who refused to respond to INCAT, who were in a position to make vessels available to us,” Rowley said.

While the board of the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago was searching for appropriate vessels,  “Government employees from all about, were telling the Board (referring to the Port Authority of T&T Board) that they can’t find nothing. But, they were finding Ocean Flower and Cabo Star for us…We are going to pursue that matter,” Rowley said.

He added, “People, who knew the hell that we are going through as a people…Tobago economy being wrecked…We go quite to Tazmania to see correspondence to people on the Government payroll in T&T…people who didn’t bother to reply because it didn’t suit their agenda.”

Government will, however,  purchase two new vessels at a cost of US$80 million each said Rowley. Proposals are expected within 14 days, he said, following which a decision will be made and orders placed for vessels with a turn around time of 18 months. The new vessels will come with a seven-year maintenance agreement with capacity training included the Prime Minister disclosed.

Citing external demand for both the T&T Express and the T&T Spirit Rowley said they will be repaired and sold. Money earned from the sale, he added, will help pay for new vessels.

And, as a direct result of his trip to Australia Rowley said officials from Austal are expected to arrive in T&T next week to do a report on the six Coast Guard vessels which are “gathering moss.”

Considering the porous state of this country’s borders efforts, will be made to repair those vessels, which will be put back into service.


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