Minister of National Security Stuart Young has denied that he misled the Parliament regarding the arrival of an engine repair crew for Coast Guard vessels despite claims made in a newspaper article and the Opposition.
According to the news report, engineers from Damen Shipyard, who are responsible for the repairs for the vessel, had arrived in Trinidad since October. However, this would contradict what the minister said last week in Parliament, when he explained that Damen personnel were reluctant to fly to this country to do work on the vessels due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement yesterday, Young said the story attempts to “make what I said in Parliament on Friday 27 November 2020 untrue or misleading.”
He added, “I completely reject any such suggestion. The facts are as follows:-
– the engineers who were required to come to Trinidad and Tobago to maintain the Damen vessels were delayed in arriving here due to the global pandemic that is COVID-19. These delays in arrival due to COVID-19 have negatively affected the serviceability of the Coast Guard’s Damen vessels.”
He explained, however, that an engineer did arrive in October, stating,”The arrival of one engineer in October, who was replaced by another in November, is not, and was not, sufficient to carry out the necessary maintenance and works to the Damen vessels.”
He added, “Damen has not shipped the parts for the Coast Guard vessels that are necessary for their repair and maintenance. This too has negatively affected the serviceability of the vessels.”
Young again repeated that there was reluctance from the Dutch company to send crew here due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are engineers who are required to perform specific works on the vessels who have not come to Trinidad and Tobago because of COVID-19. These are the irrefutable facts,” he said.
Earlier yesterday, United National Congress MP Saddam Hosein had issued a release questioning Young’s statement last week and called for an apology for misleading the Parliament.
“The Dutch Ambassador confirmed that one of the engineers had been here since October and another one came in the country in November,” Hosein said in his release.
“Minister Young must apologise to the engineers who travelled to our country during the pandemic and he must apologise to the nation for grossly misleading the Parliament and the population.”