Colm Imbert’s statement that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s decision to buy a Long Range Patrol boat from China is “the height of absurdity” is itself an absurdity.
A media release on Monday from the Office of the Prime Minister stated that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar got a commitment from China that it would deliver the vessel to the T&T Coast Guard in the shortest possible time.
China promises Long Range vessel for Coast Guard Imbert was commenting on that decision and made reference to the present administration’s cancellation of an order placed by the Manning government for four Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) with a British shipyard.The PP government cancelled the order based on several grounds including:
- OPV 1 was already overdue by one year
- OPV 2 was three months late
- Major issues and deficiencies with the OPVs
- Overall, there were serious obstacles to the proper execution and implementation of this project
What Imbert should be doing is sticking to the real reason why the PP government cancelled the OPV contract.
And he should also explain how he presided over the purchase of a boat – the MV SU – for TT$25 million and spent another TT$27 million to repair it. And the boat never sailed once. He was the cabinet minister responsible and must take responsibility for the mammoth waste of state funds.
The former minister should also explain the absurdity of buying a blimp that was always grounded and why the government in which he served bought four helicopters at six times the cost.
Imbert and the PNM have spent the past three and a half years criticising everything the government has done or tried to do and they have not offered the country a single alternative option. They are bankrupt of ideas and believe that their obstructionism would return them to office.
By contrast the government is focused on what is needed and what it is doing. According to Griffith the government is getting the best advice on the matter from experts in the field and is looking at all the relevant factors such as finance, the specifics of the vessel, including the electronic system and compatability and maintenance.
“I can assure that the Prime Minister has been excellent as the chair of the National Security Council. China has given us a proposal and we are exploring it. This is not an off-the-shelf item. We also need to look at what the Chinese has to offer and whether this vessel would be compatible with our system and could be linked to our radar,” told the Guardian newspaper.