INDARSINGH ON CLAIMS OF BIAS AGAINST COMMISSION OF
ENQUIRY: PARIA AND HERITAGE SETTING THE STAGE FOR THE
BEGINNING OF THE END OF THE REPORT IN AN ATTEMPT TO
PROTECT NEWMAN GEORGE, PNMITES AT PARIA.
September 7th, 2023.
It is alarming to have heard that the Chairman of the Commission of Enquiry into the
Paria Diving Tragedy, Mr Jerome Lynch, KC, advised that Paria Fuel Trading Company
Limited and Heritage Petroleum Company Limited have written to the Commission
claiming bias against their respective companies.
I am calling on the Board and management of Paria Fuel Trading and Heritage
Petroleum to issue public statements outlining the bases upon which they believe the
Commission is or was biased against them.
It is of great concern that the supposed bias claimed by Paria and Heritage are
emerging two months before the much anticipated deadline for delivery of the Report of
the Commission of Enquiry.
One must note that for the entire duration of the Commission of Enquiry, neither Paria
nor Heritage ever issued a public statement indicating any concern about supposed
We must remind Paria and Heritage that they are public entities, and the Paria
Commission of Enquiry is also a public mechanism funded by taxpayer dollars. If it is
the concern by any party that a public agency is overtly or covertly practising any form
of bias, such possibility of bias affects the public good.
In a situation as sensitive as the Paria Diving Tragedy, there can be no room for real or
perceived bias on the part of the Commission of Enquiry.
There can also be no attempt – real or perceived – to discredit the work and findings of
the Commission in an attempt to protect corporate and political friends in Paria and
We must recall that at the time of the Tragedy, Newman George, husband of PNM-
appointed House Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George and golfing partner of Prime
Minister Keith Rowley, was the Chairman of Paria and has remained in that position
We must also recall the scant, uncompassionate, arrogant, dehumanizing manner in
which Paria and Heritage dealt with the families of these divers during the ordeal and in
the months after. No one from Paria provided them with updates. There was no
accommodation for them as they awaited news on site. Paria tried to block the families
of these divers from testifying at the Commission. To date the lone survivor Christopher
Boodram and families of the other four divers lament that Paria still has not offered any
support to them, and this PNM Government even attempted to put together a committee
which included Eugene Tiah, who had a conflict of interest given his deep association
with the line Minister, Stuart Young.
As far as the country has been told, there has been no change of personnel at Paria,
and those involved in the mismanagement of the Paria crisis remain well paid in their
It is, therefore, unseemly and flabbergasting that as the country anticipates the
publication of the report, both Paria and Heritage would cry bias.
Is this a case of the boy who cried wolf?
Neither Paria nor Heritage can be trusted, given that their senior management is
infested with friends and family of the PNM, and their attempt at disqualifying the
Commissioners at this very late stage suggests more to the proverbial mortar than the
Paria and Heritage must stop hiding behind the smokescreen of corporate and legal
letters and let the country judge for itself whether there was bias.
Paria and Heritage must issue a statement underlying their bases now and stop sending
cowardly letters to the Commission. The country is watching very closely whether
Heritage, Paria and the PNM will seek to have this report disqualified to protect
“Naughty Newman” and other friends of the PNM.
By attempting to delegitimize the Commission and its Report, Paria and Heritage seem
to be setting the stage for the beginning of the end to the report, and the justice and
accountability to which their report may lead.
Member of Parliament for Couva South and SHADOW RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE
MINISTRY OF LABOUR and TOBAGO AFFAIRS.