Hinds responds to UNC claims on Coast Guard vessels

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.

NATIONAL Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds dismissed allegations from Naparima MP Rodney Charles that two Coast Guard vessels are non-operational and will be sent overseas for repairs. He did so while responding to a question from Charles in the House of Representatives on Friday.

Charles identified the vessels as TTCG41 and TTCG 42. Those vessels are the two Cape Class vessels, manufactured by Australian shipbuilder Austal and handed over to the Coast Guard on May 21, 2021.

TTCG41 is the TTS Port of Spain. TTCG42 is the TTS Scarborough.

Hinds said, “It has been brought to my attention that one of the aforementioned vessels is now in need of some attention.” For that reason, he added, that vessel “is not immediately in service.”

Hinds said “The other (vessel) is functioning as it is expected to in the service of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.” Hinds did not say which vessel was in service and which was not. He also gave no details about the vessel which was not in service at this time.

Referring to his cellphone, Charles made additional claims.

He claimed Coast Guard officers were threatened with non-renewal of contracts “in connection with disclosing the status of the two Coast Guard vessels.”

Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George disallowed Charles’ question to Hinds to confirm or deny these claims which he alleged were on social media.

Charles asked Hinds whether the Coast Guard’s fleet was properly managed.

Annisette-George disallowed that question as well.

Later in the sitting, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said a section of the Mon Desir-Delhi Road from from Seeram Junction to Sparrow Junction, does not need full resurfacing at this time.

The House has been adjourned to June 3.