Three days ago Hinds called for a probe into the $1 million purchase of 20 unusable wooden ladders for the Fire Service and has called for a “thorough investigation” into the contract. MP Charles is calling for a status update on the probe.
In the absence of clear and upfront answers, the population is left to fill the void with assumptions. From the start, there have been many unanswered questions surrounding the acquisition of the ladders. In the absence of proper procurement systems, the Government must inform the public as to the procurement process used.
Is it accurate to say that Hinds gave verbal instructions to the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary? Were contracts allegedly issued to a favored and known PNM business? Is this one of the businesses that has given hefty donations towards the construction of Balisier House? The Chief Fire Officer Arnold Bristo said the blame lies with the former fire service administration. So then who was the former person in charge and has he/she been questioned?
We are not saying this is true, but if answers are not provided, we are left with more speculation than facts. This National Security blunder speaks to the lack of transparency and accountability in public affairs and raises questions on how taxpayers monies are wasted. This Government’s duty is to ensure that there is value for the billions spent on National Security.
In light of that, we call on a wider and a thorough investigation to take place immediately as well as swift action to be taken to bring to justice whoever is responsible for any wrongdoing. Assurances must be guaranteed that proper procurement standards will take place in the future.
We further call on the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service to provide a breakdown of the cost and suppliers for all firefighting equipment and appliances bought for fire stations and firemen.
We ask that Hinds comes clean and puts all speculation to rest. Forget all the long talk and state only the facts once and for all in the interest of democracy, good governance, accountability and transparency.