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Ferry probe went smoothly—Mouttet

Published: 
Saturday, September 16, 2017

The first report into the procurement of the controversial Cabo Star and the Ocean Flower 2 vessels was submitted to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley by business executive Christian Mouttet on Thursday.

And Mouttet, who was appointed by Rowley on August 15 as sole investigator to probe the circumstances surrounding the procurement of the two vessels to service the sea bridge, says it was a smooth process.

The probe was ordered after the Works and Transport Ministry had terminated the contract for the Ocean Flower 2 on the grounds that Canadian-based ferry service provider Bridgemans Services Group had failed to satisfy the conditions under the contract.

In a brief telephone interview yesterday, Mouttet confirmed he submitted the report to the PM following Thursday’s post-Cabinet meeting.

“The report was completed and handed in yesterday (Thursday). The Prime Minister has to decide …the Cabinet has to decide what they are doing with the report. So I don’t think it would be appropriate for me speak about the report or to say anything until that happens,” Mouttet said.

In terms of interviewing individuals and obtaining documentation during his investigations, Mouttet said “for the most part” everything went smoothly.

Asked if he got full cooperation from everyone, Mouttet opted not to comment. He also stayed clear from saying how detailed the report was, how many pages it contained and what was unearthed.

Appointed by Rowley on August 15, Mouttet, who was given support by the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, was given 30 days by the PM to submit his findings.

Mouttet’s probe was one of four investigations into the vessels. The other three are being conducted by the Port Authority of T&T, Integrity Commission and a Joint Select Committee of Parliament.

Part of Mouttet’s task was meeting with people, carrying out interviews and putting together information and documentation that had been created regarding the whole procurement process of the vessels.

Among those Mouttet interviewed last month was vice president of Bridgemans Services Group Andrew Purdey, who handed over documentation on the procurement of the two vessels.

Rowley confirmed he received the report in Parliament yesterday while replying to Opposition questions on the sea bridge issue.

The PM was asked to detail the information available to him which prompted his recent suggestion that the procurement of the Ocean Flower 2 deal was crooked,

Rowley said, “As you might be aware, I’ve been summoned to appear before the Joint Select Committee (JSC) which is investigating this matter. I’ve agreed to attend and I’d prefer to make my comments on that occasion.”

The JSC, comprising Government, Opposition and Independent parliamentarians, met recently in Trinidad and Tobago to examine the Tobago ferry services, including procurement and management of ferries. - With reporting by GAIL ALEXANDER