PM: Refinery link to oil spill ‘patently ridiculous’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley –

THE Prime Minister hinted of a possible escalation of the national response to the February 7 oil spill off the southwest coast of Tobago.

Dr Rowley also rejected claims by Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Farley Augustine about Government attempting to cover up what and who may have caused the spill.

He made these comments in a statement to the House of Representatives on Friday.

The national oil spill contingency plan is currently at tier 2 to deal with the spill.

Rowley said the means “we are handling the situation according to plan but may require a bit of outside help.”

He added, “However we have not invoked the declaration of a tier 3 emergency.”

Rowley said a multi-pronged local, regional and international investigations are currently underway to identify the vessels involved in the oil spill and their owners.

He vowed that the people responsible for the oil spill will be held accountable.

Rowley dismissed claims by Augustine of a cover-up of the spill being linked to an alleged interest in a former Petrotrin refinery in Pt Fortin as “patently ridiculous.”

He supported earlier statements made in the sitting by Energy Minister Stuart Young about efforts currently underway to safely remove the liquid cargo from the barge and prevent any further environmental damage.

Before Rowley spoke, the House approved a request from Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh to debate the oil spill as a definite matter of urgent public importance.