Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has assured that the Commission of Enquiry’s report on the Paria diving tragedy is being properly reviewed by Paria’s Fuel’s board and “others” and that there was no need for the government to “jump in” to make compensation.
Rowley made the statement in Parliament yesterday, in response to Opposition questions on compensation for the families of the LMCS divers involved in the February 2022 tragedy.
United National Congress MP David Lee had asked Rowley to state if Government had considered offering compensation, either through Paria or other avenues, given that the final report of the CoE into the matter had recommended that compensation be given to families of the victims.
Rowley said: “As you will be aware, there was this unspeakable tragedy that took place in Pointe-a-Pierre approximately two years ago. Initially, the Government’s reaction was to ask Paria to have experts in the area to go in and determine what’s happened so we can speedily move towards some understanding.”
“We now have the report of the Commission of Enquiry with recommendations. Suffice it to say, this matter remains mainly a legal matter of liabilities and responsibilities and it would be quite unusual at this stage for the Government to override the responsibility and role of the board and other entities involved,” he said.
“So, the matter is being reviewed as far as I’m aware. The findings and recommendations—recommendations they are, of the Commission of Enquiry. And the Office of Prime Minister and the Government, even though Paria is a state-owned entity, the Government is not now in a position to override those situations and we’ll await the outcome, since there are serious legal considerations for all aspects of taxpayers in T&T.”
On the amount spent in legal fees by Paria for the CoE, with the specific amount paid to Gilbert Peterson and Jason Motto, the Prime Minister said the figures available at this time showed that Paria had spent to date $8.548 million, with a further $899,513.17 being processed for payment.