Media Release - AMCHAM T&T Statement On National Tragedy

The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) has until now refrained from commenting on the tragedy in which four people - Yusuf Henry, Fyzal Kurban, Kazim Ali Jr, and Rishi Nagassar - died while conducting maintenance work on an underwater pipeline owned by Paria Fuel Trading Co Ltd in Pointe-a-Pierre on 25th February 2022. From the time the incident was reported until now, we noted a plethora of comments and did not think that another voice would be constructive.

As most in the business community know, AMCHAM T&T has been the leading private sector voice on Health, Safety & Environmental (HSE) issues for almost three decades. Our HSSE Conference has been running annually, without interruption, for the past 25 years, even throughout the pandemic. We have been hosting the National Safety Awards for the past 11 years. We have always championed the position of People before Profits and this is the underlying philosophy that guides our training and advocacy around HSE matters.

We therefore cannot imagine the pain and distress that the families and friends of the deceased divers are experiencing. We offer our deepest condolences to them all. Indeed, AMCHAM T&T joins the national community in mourning.

While we understand the outrage being expressed, particularly on social media, we must also acknowledge that this is a moment to demonstrate greater leadership and reinstall public trust in our institutions. This can be achieved through identification of the lessons to be learnt to prevent further tragedies via a thorough and transparent investigation into the series of events that led to the deaths of the divers and the eventual recovery of their bodies.

Making this a priority for the country will not only help our nation to heal but will help us to understand how this accident occurred and more importantly, how we can learn from it.

Thus, we believe a thorough and transparent investigation into the series of incidents that occurred is critical to repairing public trust. Learnings from this tragedy can be applied by other companies to make the workplace a safer space for all employees and stakeholders here and around the world.

Such an investigation will, by necessity, have to be conducted by people. We are concerned that the manner of public discourse and attacks on those who have been willing to lend their expertise are, ultimately, counter-productive. In a country with a relatively small population such as ours, it is almost impossible to find persons to undertake major responsibilities who have not interacted significantly with decision-makers, past and present.

Specifically, we wish to place on record our gratitude to former AMCHAM T&T President, Eugene Tiah for being willing to lend his expertise to determine what caused such a tragedy and therefore assisting in preventing similar events in the future. Eugene has demonstrated tremendous safety leadership during his career and is widely regarded as a safety pioneer in T&T. His safety record, as the former President of Phoenix Park Gas Processors, was enviable by global standards. His safety leadership continued in his various roles thereafter including as Executive Chairman, Energy and Industrial Gases Business Unit, Massy Energy.

Eugene has always acted with utmost integrity and in a most statesmanlike manner. Indeed, even as he stepped off from the now-aborted Investigation Committee into the incident as announced by the Government, he did so to ensure that the work of the Committee was not impeded or clouded by commentary around him.

We understand that this is an emotionally charged matter and many, often-competing interests are involved. However, we appeal to all who can have an impact on national development – especially those who have specific and official responsibility in this regard – to consider the impact of their actions. If the willingness of capable professionals to serve continues to be compromised, we will all be the poorer for it

We look forward to the identification of the Commissioners to establish the Commission of Inquiry and to the execution of the Inquiry expeditiously. We trust that the full and final report will immediately be made public and that the recommendations made therein will be accepted and acted on by the relevant arms of the State.

For further questions or comments please contact: Nirad Tewarie, CEO AMCHAM T&T at

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