To the untrained eye, it would appear that the sentiments of doom and gloom are all that there is to the T&T economy right now.
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Purdey hopes process is fair
Bridgemans Services Group vice-president Andrew Purdey is hoping his company will be treated fairly at tender evaluation process for the selection of a new passenger vessel for the sea bridge.
The company’s tender of the controversial Ocean Flower 2 was among eleven others received by the Port Authority of T&T (PATT) last Monday.
Purdey told the T&T Guardian that despite all the negatives surrounding their previous tender, the company is hoping for fair treatment “but we have no control over how the Port looks at us.”
The Ocean Flower 2 was initially given the contract to supply the passenger service on the sea bridge in late June. But the contract, valued at US$26,500 a day, was scrapped after the vessel failed to meet three separate deadlines for arrival here. The vessel has since arrived here for dry docking in Chaguaramas.
Asked what next for Bridgemans if the PATT evaluation committee does not select the vessel, he said “no plans” in an emailed reply.
Purdey said Bridgemans had spent “in the millions” to repair the Ocean Flower 2 when it docked in Panama, following the journey from Korea, after developing significant problems. This led to the delay in its arrival to Trinidad and the subsequent cancellation of the contract.
Currently, he said the company is still “considering our options” with regard to initiating legal action against the PATT. He refused comment on whether there were clauses in the contract which may have complicated the actual cancellation of the contract, saying it is a “legal matter and I will not comment.”
The Ocean Flower 2 berthed in Chaguaramas last Wednesday, the same day the tenders closed for a passenger ferry. In the public opening of the tenders, Bridgemans was one of five companies which submitted vessels.
Purdey maintained that the tender and the arrival of the vessel were not linked, insisting that although the PATT had cancelled the initial contract, they agreed to bring the Ocean Flower 2 for a pre-planned dry dock for maintenance and installation of T-Foils to improve the ship’s performance. Asked how soon the dry-docking will begin, he said “in the next few days.”
Maritime officials told the T&T Guardian there is nothing in law to prevent any vessel from docking in T&T waters as long as they meet the requirements and get proper clearance.
On September 8, Ken Shipping and Marine Services Limited’s Lester Kenny, the local a Ocean Flower 2 agent, wrote to the Immigration Boarding Section indicating the imminent arrival of the vessel for the purpose of dry docking. The letter said the company’s boarding representative Sheldon Poonsammy “will be boarding and entering the vessel into Chaguaramas” and requested that the Immigration Boarding Station board and clear the vessel into Trinidad and Tobago for repairs.
On the same day the vessel berthed in Chaguaramas, director of the Maritime Services at the Ministry of Works and Transport Ronald Alfred told the Joint Select Committee on Land and Physical Infrastructure that any vessel which wanted to come into local waters was free to make an application “96-48 hours before they will put their statutory documents in to the Maritime Services” and they would examine them to make sure they are “in date.” Alfred said as far as he understood, the vessel was here for” legitimate business.”