Farcical, Dr Rowley! Fixin’ T&T slams appointment of ‘sole investigator’ for procurement scandal

To label as farcical Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s appointment of Mr Christian Mouttet as the “sole investigator” on matters regarding the procurement of the Ocean Flower 2 and the Cabo Star would be generous.

Madness or abject stupidity would be more apt. The Prime Minister, Minister Stuart Young and Mr Mouttet are trying to convince the people that a businessman with no investigative experience, selected as the “sole investigator”—ably supported by the “non-partisan” Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs—can and will conduct a thorough, transparent and independent investigation.

Photo: Prestige Holdings chairman Christian Mouttet.
(Courtesy Ansa McAl)

In the interest of transparency perhaps the PM and Mr Mouttet can comprehensively answer the following ahead of the investigation:

  1. What qualifies Mr Mouttet to be an investigator; especially one possessing the forensic expertise needed to dissect this fiasco?
  2. On what or whose authority can Mr Mouttet compel any person or organisation to answer a single question, turn over one page of documentation or share any email or telephone communication?
  3. How much money, if any, did Mr Mouttet or any of his businesses contribute to the PNM’s 2015 general elections campaign?
  4. Are there any conflicts of interest due to relationships, personal and/or business, that Mr Mouttet may have with members of the hierarchy of the PNM both in and out of the Cabinet?

FIXIN’ T&T, via the FOIA, has requested information that can be easily provided by the PATT which would begin to shed light on this matter. The public would be well served if the PM, who has the authority, instructs the board and management of the PATT to release among other things:

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
(Copyright Andrea De Silva)
  • a copy of the Dun & Bradstreet report on Bridgeman’s Services Group requested and received by the PATT during its due diligence process.
  • copies of the reports received on the “third party” inspections claimed to have been conducted on the Cabo Star and the Ocean Flower 2.
  • financial information, inclusive of audited accounts, received from Bridgeman’s Services Group and/or Bridgeman’s Trinidad LP.
  • comprehensive details of the procurement process employed which resulted in the selection of Bridgeman’s Services Group and/or Bridgeman’s Trinidad LP.
  • all documentation inviting Bridgeman’s Services Group and/or Bridgeman’s Trinidad LP to submit proposals to provide vessels to service the Trinidad & Tobago sea bridge.
  • all documentation awarding Bridgeman’s Services Group and/or Bridgeman’s Trinidad LP a contract to provide vessels to service the Trinidad and Tobago sea bridge.
  • copies of the Charter Party agreements for the Ocean Flower 2 and the Cabo Star.
Photo: Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan.
(Copyright News.Gov.TT)

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley can, if he is even remotely interested in transparency, give a directive that all of the above requested information be placed in the public domain today!

By doing so, he will save Mr Mouttet and the people some very valuable time.

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About Fixin TT

Fixin T&T's mission is the realization of good governance to achieve healthy, holistic, and fulfilling lifestyles for all citizens through the study, promotion, and furtherance of strong democratic institutions; sound infrastructure; integrity in public and corporate affairs; and a culture of respect by all for the laws and regulations of the country to create a safe, secure, efficient and productive Trinidad & Tobago.

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  1. So, let me get this straight. For the PM to get an approval for the investigation, he needs the go ahead from Kirk Waite (see TCM), Dr . Sheila Rampersad (known media apologist), Gerard Ramdeen (less said about his integrity, the better ), Ferdie Ferreira (lord of the port), as well as other various bodies.
    It must not be a lone investigator, they must have maritime and contract knowledge, have investigative powers, have experience and not be linked to any party or organization that ever supported a party locally and finally, it must not cost the taxpayers.
    In short, it must be a committee from Mars.
    Running this country reminds me of the man, his son and their donkey going to market.

  2. Dam if dey do dam if de dont wat ah ting

  3. The ship is sinking once again I wonder who will rescued it this time

  4. And wtf alyuh could do about it? The Blackest man in T&T put a man with no investigative experience, as a matter of fact nobody ever hear bout he before, he could have been born and grown in some secret PNM lab somewhere in Tobago to investigate discrepancies into the two boats that was contracted for the sea bridge. Nothing wrong with that. Bussing up alyuh mouth while alyuh wait for the next fete.

  5. Whoever you put someone will have something to object to. Can’t please anyone these days

  6. Ppl he have 2 pay back, or next election he lòoking for ah work u no.


  8. Imagine the patt going to investigate themselves for wrongdoing wta.

  9. Not knocking him before his task is complete. But say he does a decent job n uncovers discrepancies n issues that warrant a criminal investigation. Is the matter then to be referred to the police or the Integrity Commission who then has to do another investigation before charges can be laid. Seems like a waste of time n tax money yes

  10. This is a farce and a complete waste of time .. just as so many of our Commision of Inquiries it is only going to cost tax payers a lot of money and in the end amount to nothing

  11. Meanwhile at Police Headquarters….

    CoP : “Why do I feel so tingly?”
    Corporal: “Sir, because you are sitting with your thumb up your …”

  12. What if after an allegation of corruption, Kamla Persad-Bissessar appointed Krishna Lalla (of SIS) to investigate the matter, what would have been the public’s reaction? Would the persons who are saying to give Rowley and Christian M a chance also agree to give KPB and Lalla a chance?
    Would persons still have tried to justify this scenario as an ‘incident review’?

  13. After the dust has settled there has to be another probe into the awarding of contracts on that port, information is that there is a lot of hankey pankey going on there

  14. Got no experience but he will learn while on the job a brilliant guy alot of wealth and knowledge if he could have plenty positions with different work bright guy he is a master in all he do.

  15. 1.3 million Trinis getting played

  16. Why didn’t the Office of AG and Ministry of Legal Affairs not conduct the investigation themselves? They have the experience, the legal minds…. they are ones providing the support to Mr Mouttett, just do it yourself….

  17. The PNM appoint the PNM to investigate the PNM.

    They really think we’re dotish yes. Smh

  18. Where is rowley the man who claimed to have all the answers

  19. Sooooooo….Is Mouttet our local Meullar….just saying…..!!!!

  20. Why you want another feeding frenzy Ali’s commission of inquiry

  21. Shame on Rowley for this stupidee move.

  22. NOW if there is any legal ramifications he work becomes inadmissIble to court

  23. The other thing I dont understand is some people’s comment about the 1%. Since when did Mr Mouttet become Lebanese/Syrian?

  24. What concerns me is that we have eroded all the institutions of the state to the point that some now feel that the best person to investigate possible misuse of public funds is a single individual with no legal authority nor the required technical expertise.

    As someone earlier stated, the most we can expect from Christian Mouttet is a recommendation for a full investigation.

    • Lasana Liburd
      And I am sure the entire country has reached that conclusion without needing a ‘pre-investigation’!
      See, we know how to be opaque while demanding transparency. What is the scope of the investigation? Timeline of investigation-from tender stage to termination of contract? Is part of investigation to find out who local interests are?
      Do we believe this ‘pre-investigation’ is not to unearth what info is known and available, with possible ulterior motives?

  25. The appointment of Christian Mouttet as the sole investigator into the circumstances surrounding the procurement of the Cabo Star and the Ocean Flower 2, a matter of national importance involving:
    o the use and misuse of public funds,
    o public procurement,
    o contract law,
    o criminal law,
    o the law of undisclosed principals,
    o company law,
    o regulatory compliance,
    o private international law, and
    o international charter-parties ,
    is to be condemned in the strongest possible language and for the following reasons:

    1. A matter of such complexity demands the examination by a multi-disciplinary team with the requisite experience competence and expertise in the areas listed above.
    2. Mr. Christian Mouttet lacks the requisite experience or expertise to conduct this enquiry. He has no disclosed training or experience in forensic auditing, forensic accounting, law, public procurement, international charter-party contracts or criminal investigation.
    3. Mr. Mouttet as a one-man investigator has no powers of subpoena or summons. He cannot compel cooperation, nor can he visit any consequences upon anyone who refuses to cooperate with his enquiry. He cannot compel the production of documents or the testimony of witnesses
    4. Any report generated by Mr. Mouttet will be for the eyes of cabinet only and will be protected from disclosure to the public under the Freedom of Information Act.
    5. Mr. Mouttet currently holds 12 directorships according to http://www.bloomberg.com. How and when is he expected to fulfill the obligations and demands of this new mandate.
    6. Because the principals and shareholders of Bridgeman’s have not been revealed, there is a legitimate concern given the extensive Directorships that Mr. Mouttet holds, as to whether there is any overlap between his directorships and Bridgeman’s undisclosed principals and shareholders.
    7. The terms of reference of this enquiry and Mr. Mouttet’s compensation have not been revealed. This being a matter of national importance, the terms of reference and his compensation package ought to be published in a transparent manner

    We again call for a public enquiry into the events surrounding the procurement of the Cabo Star and the Ocean Flower II. Nothing less than a Commission of Enquiry will do to ventilate in the public the failure of governance that resulted in this debacle which ruined businesses in Tobago, the 2017 summer hotel season, and has disrupted the lives of over 60,000 people.

  26. Christlyn Moore, if you don’t mind, can you post the statement on Mouttet’s appointment in this thread?

  27. Trinidad gets n snow. But oh so many snow jobs.

  28. I think more importantly he has no investigative locus standi.

  29. He could ask Mark Bassant for help too. Sure he will get plenty of information there.

    • Once the “report” goes to the Prime Minister, it doesn’t matter if it is a combination of Sherlock Holmes, Perry Mason and Agathe Christie doing the investigating…
      Or to put it another way, what if Donald Trump was allowed to take charge of investigations in his own regime? Would it really matter who was investigating once the report went to Trump to decide what he, in his wisdom, should do with it?

      • Sounds like a Spoiler calypso, doesn’t it? “Himself told himself you are charged for stealing; himself told himself the policeman lying, etc, etc.”

    • I agree. But this would mean that no matter what the Prime Minister is not in a position to ever order any investigation because intrinsically it could end up in the dustbin. But if we waiting for some independent office like integrity commission (?) or perhaps DPP or Fraud Squad whatever, then you need a basis from which to start. Maybe Moutett”s role is to unearth whatever prosecutable wrongdoing took place so that a proper institution could run with it. I’m hoping that Moutett investigation will bring some things to light that cannot be easily buried so that even if Rowley wants to sit on the report he will be forced to act.

    • What in Mouttet’s history suggests that he is so smitten by duty to country that he would refuse to have his final report watered down or chucked to one side?

    • Lol. True his stint in TSTT was unremarkable from what I remember ?

    • There are persons qualified to undertake such fraud investigations, if there are any. So is this the most ‘independent’ investigator available?
      And was he appointed by Cabinet?

  30. White man with an honest face is a thing of the past
    Can’t fool me
    Look at trump

  31. No matters who Dr Rowley appointed, critics will do what they do best criticized. How many qualifierd person were a[ppinted to commissions and Enquiry in this country and nothing. Let him do tyhe job at hand

    MIRANDA LA ROSE Wednesday, August 16 2017
    Article courtesy the Newsday Newspaper
    THE Port Authority has suspended chief executive officer and general manager Leon Grant, even as Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday appointed businessman Christian Mouttet as the sole investigator of the procurement of two vessels for the Tobago seabridge from Canadian operator Bridgeman’s Services Group (BSG).
    There were also unconfirmed reports that a second employee was suspended. A senior government official confirmed Grant’s suspension and said a press release would be issued but none was received up to press time.
    The development followed the Office of the Prime Minister’s (OPM) announcement that Mouttet, a former president of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, would investigate the “circumstances surrounding the procurement of the Cabo Star and the Ocean Flower II” and the charter party agreement for the vessels with the Vancouver-based BSG. Mouttet will be supported by the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, and is due to present a report within 30 days. The OPM also released the prime minister’s letter to Mouttet, dated August 15, outlining his mandate.
    Mouttet yesterday told Newsday he was asked by the prime minister to conduct the investigations and has accepted the responsibility.
    “I will conduct whatever interviews are necessary from stakeholders, and collect data that exists with regards to correspondence and contracts,” he said. “I will look at the mechanisms and the systems that were in place for this process, and essentially prepare a report on those findings and submit them to the prime minister and the Cabinet.” However, Mouttet will not give advice on any course of action based on his findings.

  33. Leave the 0.7% alone, yuh hear, Lasana!

  34. I well say Christian have a PI license

  35. Understand Mario Sabga Aboud…Rohan Sinanan…the 1% are opting for direct rule. They see the Cabinet in all kinds of meleesThe political leadership was handed this nomination to “approve’..All that had to be done was release the information..It will come out but as good capitalists they know how to make money

  36. While I did express concerns over Mr.Christian Mouttet’s selection. After much reflection and conversations with people. I think he is capable of handling the task. While it is being called ” an investigation ” I would call it an incident review or fact finding with support from the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs. He will speak with all concerned, read documents etc and where necessary get the assistance being provided by the AG office. This is a man who is the CEO of ONE of our large conglomerates. I am sure over his 25 years in business he would have experience in incident reviews or fact finding within the group of company’s he heads. Based on people who know him who I spoke with he is a fair and straight forward person and would not cover up any wrong doing worse yet in the public sector where taxpayers would be the REAL victims. IN MY OPINION this task could be done in less than 30 days but if that is the time frame he was given so be it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he calls on people who are being very vocal on this matter to come forward and bring whatever evidence and information they have he could review. We put people like Christian Mouttet to serve on state boards! So I really don’t see any issue with the PNM Cabinet asking him to serve in this capacity. So stop this foolish 1% investigating 1% talk. It really sounds dumb! Plus if we really want to get the TRUTH out of this Boatgate matter? Then let’s not start off questioning who was selected to do an incident review. I just HOPE Terrajet is given an opportunity to have a say in this matter. We are hearing two different stories but what we really want to hear is the TRUTH! Which has a particular sound! So all of the paid assassins and political mouthpieces pause and let Mr. Mouttet do what he has been asked to do. Send him your information on Casper, Snuffy or whatever you want to call it. What is in the dark ALWAYS comes to light! Continue discussing this national issue but let the man do his task without being questioned of his competence. I’m just suggesting

  37. Now if ‘ Fixing T&T ” was given the post it would not have been farcical.Disastrous,yes,but not farcical.

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