UNC calls for police probe into Ocean Pelican

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


Wade Mark –

The UNC is calling on acting Commissioner of Police Mc Donald Jacob to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Ocean Pelican becoming a floating restaurant by questioning the Finance Minister, the Health Minister, the Attorney General, and the Minister of Trade and Industry.

Speaking at a virtual media conference on Friday, Opposition Senator Wade Mark questioned the circumstances under which Finance Minister Colm Imbert granted businessman Adrian Scoon a special restaurant license for the MV Ocean Pelican.

“The Comptroller of Customs can only act when he gets written instructions. This letter instructs the Comptroller of Customs to grant to Adrian Scoon a special liquor license on December 3, 2021. He made it effective from April 1, 2021, and it runs until March 31, 2022.”

Mark said a letter issued by the Health Ministry on December 28, in response to a letter from Scoon on December 26, gave permission for the vessel to be used as a floating restaurant. The letter, which was shared with the media, gives the regulations under which safe zones operated. The last two paragraphs of the letter say,

“In this regard, please note that any business, including a restaurant located on a boat that wishes to operate as a safe zone may do so provided that the legal requirements of Regulation 8 of the Regulations are satisfied.

“Further, please note that the Minister of Health has no jurisdiction in this matter and enforcement of the Regulations lies within the jurisdiction of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. Please be guided accordingly.”

He said the time had come for the police to intervene in the matter of the floating restaurant.

Mark also called on Jacob to investigate the circumstances under which Allen Warner was able to buy Presticon from the state-owned NIB for $30 million when the UNC said it thought the land alone was valued at $80-$100 million.

He called on the government to subsidise the price of flour so that bread prices would not be raised, as workers had not had a pay increase and the minimum wage had not been increased since 2013.

Shadow Minister for Labour and Couva North MP Rudranath Indarsingh called on workers to stand up against the government’s declaration of a vaccine mandate.

“Next year it will be the people vs the PNM, because of the vaccination mandate spelled out by government through the Attorney General who has made it clear that the government is not backing down. The sham of an 11th hour consultation demonstrates that government will continue its bullying and intimidation tactics in the coming year. The mandate must be seen in a clear manner, as a declaration of war on all public servants, including on teachers, health-care workers on the frontline, immigration officers, fire officers, defence force personnel, to add to category of public servants. The government through the Prime Minister, Attorney General and ministers of government is attempting to ‘dig out the eyes’ of public servants as it relates to this matter.”

Indarsingh said the UNC has made it very clear that they are in support of vaccination but are opposed to mandatory covid19 vaccination, as they feel it is in violation of citizens’ constitutional and human rights.