Final Report Goes To President Nov 30

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – The final report into the Paria diving tragedy which claimed four lives is to be delivered to President Christine Kangaloo on November 30.

This is according to secretary to the commission of enquiry Sarah Sinanan.

However, lone survivor Christopher Boodram, says he is not holding his breath.

“I am trying not to think about it. I have been disappointed too many times,” he said in an interview with the Express yesterday.

Commission of enquiry chairman Jerome Lynch, KC, had initially hoped to hand in a draft report in early April, with the final report at the end of that month.

But since then, there had been two requests for extensions, with Lynch stating the volume of evidence was far greater than he had anticipated. The commission requested an extension to August 31, but there was a further delay, and another request was submitted for an extension to November 30.

The final report will contain the commission’s findings into the incident, along with recommendations. Lynch has suggested the report be made public.

Boodram said the commission’s report into the incident was the first step in finding closure for him and the loved ones of the four deceased divers.

He said, “This report was the first step to closure. Now I am living a life filled with anxiety and panic attacks. My co-workers and I were left to suffer inside that pipeline. I thank God I managed to get out.”

On February 25, 2022, five LMCS divers—Kazim Ali Jnr, 36; Fyzal Kurban, 57; Yusuf Henry, 31; Rishi Nagassar, 48; and Christopher Boodram, then 36—were conducting maintenance works on a pipeline owned by Paria Fuel Trading Company Ltd in Pointe-a-Pierre, when they were sucked into the pipeline. Boodram was the lone survivor.

The commission heard evidence over a six-month period, with the final piece of evidence, the hyperbaric chamber, being viewed on the compound of Paria, Pointe-a-Pierre, in March.

The enquiry into the tragedy was chaired by Lynch and included fellow commissioner Gregory Wilson, a subsea specialist. The commission was represented by Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC.

The enquiry has accumulated $21 million in costs so far between the Office of the Prime Minister and Paria.

At a virtual news conference in September, Lynch said lawyers from Paria and Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd sent letters to the commission; and prior to that, attorneys from Kenson—a service contractor to oil and gas companies—sent letters on August 2 and previously, all claiming bias.

He said further that there has been some media speculation that the cause of the delay has been as a result of either political or company (Paria) interference in some way, but stated categorically: “That is not the case. If there were even a whiff of such an approach, I would make that very public indeed.”