Minister of Finance attempt to allay the fears of the population regarding the procurement process of the inter island ferry at the post cabinet press conference failed to deliver any concrete details on the process. Minister Imbert continued to obfuscate the issue without clarifying the core issues surrounding the procurement of the new ferry.
Minister Imbert failed to state how exactly did the Ministerial Committee “identify an appropriate vessel”. What was the process used by the inexperienced and unqualified Ministerial committee that was successful as opposed the process used by maritime experts who failed in a similar process? Is not the identification process of a vessel an integral part of the procurement process ? Why was there no tender by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to purchase a vessel done as was done when it wanted to lease a vessel? How can the public be assured that no PNM financier or PNM Minister recommended this particular vessel where there is an interest?
The Ministerial Committee having identified and selected a a vessel to be purchased what exact procurement process did the National Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (NIDCO) under take?
What was the process used to select experts from Hong Kong and Australian as well as UTT Maritime experts? It is well known that there are high placed PNM government officials with business linkages in Hong Kong and that senior Port Authority officials are retained by UTT. It is therefore imperative that the process used by the Government to retain the services of these experts be known to the public. Equally important is that three reports from these experts be also made public for examination by members of the public.
The Minister of Finance did not indicate who was the UK legal counsel utilized by the Government nor did he state if the UK legal counsel reviewed the procurement process as opposed to the commercial soundness of the purchase.
The Government continues to hide and shroud the procurement process with generalities and vagueness. How did the Government identify this vessel remains unanswered. When the Government decided to purchase the vessel remains unanswered. Why the Government did not tender for the purchase of the vessel remains unanswered.