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UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar addresses supporters during the party’s Virtual Forum on Monday.

Paria Fuel Trading Company Limited must say if it has restarted work at Berth Five and the pipeline where the recent tragedy with the four divers occurred – and police and the Director of Public Prosecutions must lock down that “crime scene.”

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar made that call at Monday’s UNC Forum.

Speakers kept up the pressure on the Government and Paria on the deaths of LMCS divers Kazim Ali Jr, Fyzal Kurban, Yusuff Henry and Rishi Nagassar. They were among a crew of five working on a Paria pipeline at Pointe-a-Pierre on February 25 when an incident occurred and they were sucked into the pipeline. All four men died. The matter is currently under probe.

Persad-Bissessar said the incident will be a turning point for T&T and people shouldn’t forget Government’s “uncaring” manner” in it.

She said she didn’t think Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley would give any answers at today’s “Conversations with the Prime Minister” event. She demanded that he say why he met the Iranian leader during his recent Qatar trip and about alleged assistance with Venezuelan crude oil.

Persad-Bissessar claimed Hull Support Services was engaged to continue work on the pipeline and she had information that Paria held a safety meeting last Sunday to “commence operations on the pipeline.” She asked if Paria had a proper safety analysis for this.

She demanded that the Police Commissioner and DPP lock down Paria’s Berth 5 to prevent evidence “being contaminated.” She said police are called in when an incident occurs and every crime scene is locked down. She alleged there was an issue of “involuntary or deliberate homicide.” She also said the Coast Guard could face civil suit from the divers’ families for stopping rescue efforts for them on February 25.

She queried the intelligence of Paria chairman Newman George, alleging he couldn’t “string a sentence together” and next time Rowley wanted to call someone “… dotish he should check his friend.”

Persad-Bissesar intensified the attack on the Energy Chamber, maintaining her call for the removal of the Chamber’s nominee on the five-member probing team – Eugene Tiah. She said the Chamber was long rumoured to be a People’s National Movement party group and if Tiah’s nomination was a way of helping including to sanitise the probe report. She slammed the Chamber for not issuing a statement when the divers died, but doing so in the Tiah issue.

Persad-Bissessar, who asked if all Chamber members supported its position, claimed Chamber members depended on Government for licences and livelihoods. Naming energy companies, she quried if they’d “entered the political gayelle “since they have representatives on the Chamber.”

“When you enter the political platform, we’ll deal with you,” she declared, claiming energy sector contractors had complained to her about the Chamber but said they were afraid of the Chamber.

UNC’s Rudy Indarsingh called on accident survivor Christopher Boodram to say if there was a 2021 accident on the same jetty where the pipeline was and if Boodram was in it.

MP Dinesh Rambally claimed Paria was silent initially, wasn’t careful with details it subsequently released and there were “inconsistencies” with those releases and Paria’s statement issued yesterday.

“This (latest) statement is a tragedy on its own,” he added, questioning aspects.

MP Barry Padarath also called on the House Speaker to say why a recent UNC motion on the accident didn’t qualify for debate. Noting the Speaker’s husband is Paria chairman George, he asked if she recused herself on the motion. He said it was wrong if Parliament was used to “block for a Newman.”