Dear Mr. Commissioner,
According to global professionals and retired Petrotrin office holders with responsibility for similar projects in the past, it appears that key and important procedures were not followed that may have led to the incident that not only trapped these divers, but left them without any backup rescue systems in place. That was the first crime, that of criminal negligence, that precipitated what happened next.
When the decision was made to halt the rescue efforts that were initiated by family members and other sub contractors who had successfully rescued one of the five while the others were still alive, it effectively sentenced them to death.
That order to block any further attempts at rescue and the failure of Paria to mount a rescue of their own had the same effect as pointing a gun to the heads of each of those divers, and pulling the trigger.
Mr. Commissioner, in light of all of this, we call on you to launch investigations into Paria’s failure to manage this project according to established occupational health and safety standards as well as other established procedures and industry best practices, their role in preventing the accident that trapped these divers in the first place, their failure to respond effectively once the incident took place, and their refusal to allow a rescue effort already started that resulted in the saving of at least one life and that could have saved more.
All communications between board members and management leading up to this incident and any and all communications of Paria’s response once it occurred are evidence.
All mobile phones and computer equipment need to be seized as well as all permits, agreements, contracts and any other signed documents or internal communications that initiated or maintained the sub contract that resulted in this incident.
We also call on you to investigate if Paria and/or any other agent of Paria were negligent in ways that led to the incident, and/or if Paria’s response and that of any other third party or any other national organization acting for Paria that failed to respond once the incident occurred, and/or if Paria or any employee of any other organization of state or member of government are responsible for blocking any other rescue, ultimately resulted in these four deaths.
Phillip Edward Alexander
Executive DirectorCitizens Union of Trinidad and Tobago