Gopee-Scoon: NiQuan accident report not for Parliament

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon. FILE PHOTO –

Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon said on Tuesday that the report on the NiQuan accident will not be laid in Parliament, as the matter is sub-judice.

She made this known while answering a question asked of Energy Minister Stuart Young by Opposition Senator Wade Mark on the June 15 fire at NiQuan’s gas-to-liquids plant in Pointe-a-Pierre. Massy Energy employee Allanlane Ramkissoon died from burns sustained in that incident.

Mark asked when the root cause analysis (RCA) report on the incident would be laid in Parliament.

Gopee-Scoon said the report was commissioned by NiQuan Energy Trinidad Ltd (NETL), a private company.

“As such, it is not the property of the Ministry of Energy. The report is subject to the control of NETL with respect to its circulation and distribution, and not the ministry.

“As such, the ministry is not at liberty to disclose the contents of the report nor its authors, as to do so would open the ministry to liability and potential litigation.”

Mark, in a supplemental, asked if Government would share outlines of the report having regard to the seriousness of the incident involving a man’s death.

Gopee-Scoon replied, “I agree with you that this is quite a sensitive matter involving the death of an employee, but as I said before the report is subject to the control of NiQuan Energy Trinidad Ltd and therefore the ministry will not be in a position to disclose the report or any parts of the report. And I am sure you would understand the reasons behind it, given the potential liability and litigation should they do that.”

Opposition Senator Anil Roberts asked a supplemental question.

“Seeing that Government is a great investor in NiQuan, with the Republic Bank owned by Government – 51 per cent – US$120 million loan, the ministerial gas given to NiQuan, and the assets that were worth £99 million – doesn’t Government believe they have the responsibility and wherewithal to demand the report?”

Senate President Nigel de Freitas disallowed the question.

Mark asked if Government would holds talks with NiQuan towards publicly disclosing the report.

Gopee-Scoon replied, “As I said before the matter would subject the ministry to possible litigation. The ministry is not the owner of the information.

“But at the same time the matter is sub judice. It is in court. I think you are well aware of that, Senator Mark.”