|Rowley in secret ferry meeting |
KINNESHA GEORGE-HARRY Tuesday, April 18 2017
IT was a secret meeting at a secret location when Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley met Demi-John Cruickshank, chairman of the Tobago Division of the TT Chamber of Commerce in Tobago on Monday to talk about a replacement for the cargo vessel, the Super Fast Galicia.
When Newsday caught up with Rowley shortly after 4pm yesterday at the Mt Pleasant Recreation Ground where the village’s annual goat and crab races were taking place, he refused comment on the meeting.
“Sweetheart, I am not here to do any interviews. I am here relaxing and taking in a few of the races just like everybody else,” he said. Rowley was accompanied to the annual Easter Monday event by Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles and his wife Katherine.
Cruickshank also avoided efforts to obtain information from him on the meeting. On Sunday, he had told Newsday Rowley had agreed to a meeting following a written request by the Chamber last week. He said the meeting was to take place at noon yesterday but that he could not give a location.
He remained tight-lipped yesterday about the location when asked prior to the 12 noon meeting time even as he confirmed that a meeting was being held.
Contacted again closer to midday, Cruickshank then said the meeting was private and the media was not invited. He promised to provide details after the meeting.
After several subsequent attempts to reach Cruickshank, he finally answered his cellular phone at about 3.30 pm saying the meeting had taken place and he would only be able to do a telephone interview as he was on his way to the ANR Robinson International airport to catch a flight to Trinidad to attend an engagement that evening. In response to a subsequent call, he indicated that he was about to board his flight and asked Newsday to call him back.
Further calls to Cruickshank’s phone up until 6pm went to voicemail.
Checks with reception clerks at both the Mt Irvine Bay Resort and the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort revealed that no meeting between Rowley and Cruickshank were scheduled at those venues.
Two THA Secretaries - Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment Kwesi Des- Vignes and Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Transportation Nadine Stewart Phillips – told Newsday they were unaware of a meeting happening between the PM and the chamber’s members.
Contacted for comment, the chamber’s chairman of its Inter- Island Transport Committee Dianne Hadad also said she was unaware of any meeting on the issue of a cargo ferry for the sea bridge.
“I did not attend any meeting.
You will have to speak with Mr Cruickshank, I am not aware of any meeting,” Hadad said.