Minister of Works and Transport Responds to Chief Secretary

Release date: 2/15/2024

The Ministry of Works and Transport has taken note of the article published in the Trinidad Guardian on Thursday 15 February 2024, titled “Farley accuses Govt of hiding info on oil spill vessel”. This article is categorically inaccurate and unnecessarily inflammatory. As Minister of Works and Transport, I commensurate with the frustration experienced by the Chief Secretary in holding the rightful perpetrators accountable for what is indeed an environmental and economic challenge for Trinidad and Tobago.

To this end, the Ministry of Works and Transport, along with other arms of the Central Government, has been working closely with the Tobago House of Assembly to address this situation. In a matter of this nature, there must be full verification of information before making unwarranted statements. In this context, statements attributed to the Chief Secretary regarding a WhatsApp message and subsequent conclusions do not allow for the conducting of an investigation free from bias and innuendo.

The facts of the matter are as follows:
1. An oil spill was reported off the coast of Tobago on February 07, 2024.

2. The Administration immediately reached out through its various arms to the Tobago House of Assembly to offer assistance.

3. As Minister of Works and Transport, I, in conjunction with the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, visited Tobago on February 09, 2024, to hold discussions with the Chief Secretary.

4. I further visited Tobago on February 11 and 14, 2024 to ensure that all necessary assistance was being provided. Additionally, I, along with other Ministers, have been in daily contact with the Chief Secretary. As Minister of Works and Transport, I wish to categorically debunk the statement that information has been withheld from the Tobago House of Assembly and by extension, the Chief Secretary.

Certainly, the magnitude of this incident requires a united approach to ensure that this situation is well-managed in the best interest of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.