Rowley must Account for Failure of Radar – Griffith

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By Prior Beharry 

PRIME Minister Dr Keith Rowley as head of the National Security Council must account for the failure of the radar system to detect the capsized ship that is polluting waters in Tobago.

This according to political leader of the National Transformation Alliance who described as a “PR exercise” the press conference held by Dr Rowley in Tobago on Sunday. The media conference was called after Dr Rowley, Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan and Minster of Energy Stuart Young, Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Farley Augustine and other officials toured the affected areas.

Griffith said, “In what can only be described as an after-the-fact PR exercise, Prime Minister Rowley called a press conference today (Sunday), and along with two of his Ministers, they attempted to appear busy days after the oil spill disaster, which occurred just off the Tobago mainland.

“Notably absent was the Minister of National Security, Fitzgerald Hinds, perhaps because the security apparatus fell so short that a ship of that magnitude approached our shores undetected.

“During today’s (Sunday’s) press conference, Rowley was unable to answer any questions about the ship, its crew, its origin, or destination, and had it not spilled oil to cover a mass of Tobago beachfront, its cargo as well.”

He said, “Totally clueless, Rowley as Chair of the National Security Council, and Hinds as Security Minister must be made to account for the failure of the radar detection system and the lack of use of the six Damen vessels, which are moored in Staubles Bay unused due to political reasons even though they were acquired for the specific purpose of protecting from our shoreline to our country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

“His pathetic attempt to toss in one of his favourite red herrings of OPVs must not distract the public from the fact that this Keith Rowley-led government has been in charge for nine years and is fully responsible for the protection of our borders, which, from this debacle, is shown to be as porous as can be.

“In Miami, for instance, there is very little chance that even a pirogue could enter U.S. waters without being detected and without an immediate response by authorities, who would have intercepted the vessel miles out, giving it no chance of reaching their shoreline.

“Rowley must also answer why he shut down or didn’t use the National Operations Centre, which came about as a recommendation following the 1990 coup and is specifically designed to prevent and effectively coordinate the response to coups and situations we saw arise in the Paria tragedy and now this oil spill disaster. This disaster threatens the economic well-being of Tobago’s tourist product – which perhaps explains the THA Leader’s participation in Rowley’s gimmickry.”

Griffith said, “Disrespectfully stating that it could have been worse, as if it somehow excuses this national security disaster, were it nuclear waste and not oil, the hundreds and even thousands of lives lost and negatively impacted as a result would be because of this Keith Rowley-led government’s continued failure to secure our borders and to provide the safety and security citizens deserve.”

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