Leader of Opposition Business Wade Mark holds up the Sunday Guardian to highlight the deaths of the four divers during a media briefing yesterday. At right, is Opposition Chief Whip and Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee.

The United National Congress (UNC) is calling on BP Trinidad and Tobago (BPTT) and Shell to withdraw from the committee tasked with looking into the incident which led to the deaths of four divers.

At a media conference yesterday, Senator Wade Mark said energy companies’ representatives on the five-person committee would mean that the investigation could not be independent.

“A committee composed of handpicked individuals, all ultimately regulated by the Minister of Energy and by extension the Prime Minister, cannot bring justice in this matter.”

Mark said both energy companies regularly negotiate with the Government and may not want to sour that business relationship by saying anything that can put a state agency in hot water.

“Right now there is a light source project costing Shell and BPTT $US300 million and they are now negotiating with the Government on how much they will pay per megawatt. So you have somebody you negotiating with and you have these people sitting on an independent committee? So, is this a case of you scratch my back and I scratch yours? That cannot be fair!”

Furthermore, Mark questioned if the current Paria Fuel Trading Company general manager, Mushtaq Mohammed, was previously employed as a senior manager at BPTT.

“How can you have BPTT investigating a former senior manager who is at the centre of the controversy?”

The party again called for foreign independent investigators, saying officials from United Nations Global Compact and even the Federal Bureau of Investigation can take over.

Mark said the current team suggests that no real justice will be given to the affected families.

“Because from the outset, this has not been about finding out the truth, this is about the Government seeking to cover up a scandal of the highest order,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament for Pointe-a-Pierre, David Lee, demanded that the investigative committee’s terms of reference be revealed.

Lee told the media that the party is fearful that the company’s failure to rescue the four divers will not get the attention that it needs. He believes a separate investigation is needed.

“When you look at the composition of the committee, I am hoping it is not only restricted to evaluating the repair process because we feel part of that investigation should be about the rescue mission, from what happened from 3 pm on Friday to when they moved from rescue to recovery.”

Mark went further, calling for a Commission of Enquiry where experts and the parties involved can be summoned to answer questions that may give the affected families some sense of closure and justice.

Both parliamentarians said this Government’s go-to move in any difficult situation is to set up a committee to investigate. The UNC said this will be the fourth one for the year so far.

Lee warned that the public will not allow this to go away easily.

“The lives of Kazim Ali Jr, Rishi Nagassar, Fyzal Kurban and Yusuf Henry are worth more than the shallow promise of a probe,” he said.