PNM Paid for Damen Vessels – Rowley

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

SHOWING documents, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says that his Government paid for 12 Damen vessels now in use by the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG) and not the former administration.

At his press conference on Monday held at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s, Dr Rowley said the Opposition continue to spread lies and propaganda, but he was intent on telling the public the truth.

He said he took note of a former People’s Partnership government minister’s recent statements that the $1 billion that was allocated for the Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) was instead used for the purchase of the 12 Damen vessels.

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However, Dr Rowley said, “The facts are, in the leading up to the election in 2015, when the cancellation of the OPVs and the depriving of the coast guard of vessels to patrol our borders and we were under an inundation of Venezuelans already coming to our country, the then government in the season of the election made a hurried deal with a company called Damen which is a private company in Holland to buy 12 vessels.”

He said, “The money that they paid had nothing to do with the items. It had to do with paying the finder’s fee to the person who found Damen for the UNC government. When we came into Government, there was a contract for these vessels. A few of them, the smaller ones were being delivered already and the rest had to be paid for by the contract.”

Dr Rowley held in his hand, what he called the External Loans Act Chapter 71:05 and labelled Order from the Gazette dated May 3, 2016, when his Government was in power with Colm Imbert who was also present at the press conference as finance minister.

He said, “This Loan Act here is the document that we used to borrow the money to pay for the 12 vessels.”

Dr Rowley read from parts of the document to prove his point.

“Those were the 12 vessels that the UNC contracted to buy from the UNC which this Government borrowed money to pay for,” he said.

Dr Rowley added, “Sometime in the future, I don’t know exactly when, you will hear more about the payment that was made. I just told you about the payment that wasn’t made.”


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