Dinesh Rambally, Chaguanas West MP.

Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally is seeking to gauge the scope of independence held by the local team of experts which recently inspected the Nabarima oil tanker.

And he wants Government to state the terms of engagement within which permission was granted by Venezuelan authorities for the team’s inspection.

Rambally’s query follows yesterday’s Guardian story where Ministers Franklin Khan and Amery Browne confirmed that Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA – which operates the vessel – did the film footage of the visit and the footage was sent to this country’s Government.

This footage was later made into a video by Government’s Communication division. The film footage was given to the Ministry of Energy by its Venezuelan counterpart.

Browne added only the three-member local inspection crew were allowed to inspect the vessel and no local video crew went as part of the tour.

Yesterday Rambally, an opposition MP, said that against the backdrop of the events thus far, requests were being made to Government for information that is “absolutely critical at this time.

Rambally said fisherfolk have no legal remedy to secure an order to get the information without delay in which time, issues surrounding the vessel’s “instability may worsen and the risk of an oil spill may be imminent.

Rambally said legal action will be taken if necessary, by fisherfolk on the matter.

Rambally’s questions:

*What is the Coast guard’s readiness in terms of personnel/equipment to deal with an oil spill if there is one.

* Which countries /international bodies with expertise in oil spill management have been alerted or solicited for advice and support if there’s is a spill?

*Financial arrangements between Government and the Venezuelan Government for cleanup of any possible oil spill

* Given that the Venezuelan Government hasn’t been very cooperative in matters is there a contingency plan which considers the possibility that there’s no cooperation from Venezuela?

* Given that Venezuelan authorities didn’t allow TT’s team to use their own instruments to carry out an independent inspection, on what basis is Government feeling assured the visit was, in fact, a bona fide inspection versus a carefully guided tour?

* If there’s an oil spill which would inevitably lead to the eradication of the fishing industry and adversely impact Felicity and other fisherfolk, what remedies and/or compensation will be available to them?

* The Energy Minister has indicated that risk from the Nabarima is minimal. Can the minister indicate exactly what level of risk is considered minimal and what level does the minister consider acceptable?

*To what extent can the ministers say that they are confident that their minimal risk assessment is accurate and not perhaps a whitewashing of the handicaps of the site visit which rendered our technical team powerless to do their job?