PM to meet divers’ families tomorrow

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Vanessa Kussie, right, Annisa Kurban and Kevin Lalchan, representing the families of the four men who died in the Paria diving tragedy on February 25, 2022, speak to the media before delivering a letter to the Prime Minister requesting a meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister, Whitehall, Port of Spain, on March 21. – Photo by Roger Jacob

THE Prime Minister says he intends to meet with relatives of the Paria divers this week. In a brief interview following the launch of an apprenticeship programme at Heritage Petroleum Company on Monday, Dr Rowley said he has instructed his team to make the arrangements.

“I read about it in the media. I got my letter after yours so I’ve instructed my office today to find them and indicate I’d meet with them on Wednesday (with) members of the family,” he said.

Among things to be clarified during the meeting, he said, could be compensation. On Friday, Vanessa Kussie, widow of diver Rishi Nagessar, delivered a letter to White Hall on behalf of the affected families, formally asking for a meeting.

In early February, Rowley said he was willing to meet with them but did not receive a request to do so. In February 2022, Land and Marine Construction Services (LMCS) divers Christopher Boodram, Kazim Ali Jnr, Fyzal Kurban, Yusuf Henry and Rishi Nagessar were sucked into a pipeline while working on a Paria Fuel Trading Company Ltd pipeline. Boodram was the only survivor.

A Commission of Enquiry (CoE) set up to investigate the accident, in its final report, recommended that the families should receive some compensation. The CoE also recommended charges against Paria and LMCS.