Chairman of enquiry into Paria tragedy resigns, new one hired

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

HIRED: Jerome Lynch, QC.

The chairman of the Commission of Enquiry which was appointed to probe the deaths of four LMCS Ltd divers has resigned.

Minister of Energy and Energy Industries Stuart Young made the announcement during a post-Cabinet media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, on Thursday afternoon.

Young said the original chairman of the commission, Jamaica-born Justice Dennis Morrison, QC, resigned citing personal reasons but did not go into further detail.

Young said Morrison’s resignation was not expected to affect the timeline of proceedings as Cabinet has already approved his replacement, Jerome Lynch, QC, also from Jamaica.

He said Lynch was a qualified attorney who came highly recommended and was optimistic that he would be able to keep the deadlines set for the commission.

“One of the discussions I had with him (Lynch) before he undertook the task, subject to Cabinet’s approval of being the chairman of the Commission of Enquiry, is that they would stick to the original timetables that they set out when Mr Justice Morrison was here, and Mr Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, has been talking to the population about the commencement of their procedural hearings in the month of August that is still on track.

RESIGNED: Jamaican jurist Cecil Dennis Morrison, QC.

“Mr Lynch is going to get here, we’re going to have him sworn-in in the shortest possible timeframe, I’m actually aiming at next week, but we have to make the necessary arrangements.”

Lynch was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1983 and has practised law in London and the Caribbean.

The committee was originally chaired by Morrison but also included sub-sea specialist Gregory Wilson for support. Maharaj serves as counsel for the commission.

On February 25, divers Kazim Jeremiah Ali, Yusuf Henry, Fyzal Kurban and Rishi Nagassar died when they were sucked into a 30-inch diameter sub-sea pipeline at Paria Trading Company Ltd, Pointe-a-Pierre.