Commission of Enquiry: Charge Paria with corporate manslaughter

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The four LMCS divers who died after being sucked into a pipeline while doing maintenance at Paria Fuel Trading Company Ltd’s Pointe-a-Pierre operations. From left are Kazim Ali, Yusuf Henry, Rishi Nagassar and Fyzal Kurban. –

THE Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Paria tragedy said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should consider charging the Paria Fuel Trading Company Ltd with corporate manslaughter.

“The Commissioners are minded to recommend that on evidence, there are sufficient grounds to conclude that Paria’s negligence could be characterised as gross negligence and consequently criminal,” the commission’s report said.

“They recommend that the DPP consider charging Paria with what is commonly known as corporate manslaughter.”

Otherwise, the report also concluded there was evidence to prosecute Paria Fuel’s terminal operations manager Colin Piper and LMCS owner Kazim Ali Snr (whose son died in the tragedy) for offences under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The report recommends that Paria and LMCS also face charges for offences under the OSH Act.

The report said the deadline for proceedings to be filed at the Industrial Court was two years after the incident, that is, February 24.

Otherwise the report lamented the treatments of the victims’ families, but praised incident survivor Christopher Boodram as a credit to Trinidad and Tobago.

The report was laid in the House of Representatives on January 19.

On February 25, 2022, five LMCS workers – Christopher Boodram, Kazim Ali, Fyzal Kurban, Yusuf Henry and Rishi Nagassar – were repairing a 30-inch pipeline at Paria’s Pointe-a-Pierre facility but were sucked in, with only Boodram escaping to later recount the tragedy to the commission.

Relatives of the men bitterly complained of being stopped from trying to rescue them, with Paria and the Coast Guard in turn arguing they had tried to prevent further deaths if rescue efforts were botched.