Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said yesterday that Opposition MP Colm Imbert was wrong in his statement that the Government lost the arbitration proceedings with respect to the termination of the contract for three Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).
Imbert, in a release yesterday, called on Transport Minister Devant Maharaj to come clean on the sale of the water taxis and also requested that facts be given on the outcome of the arbitration proceedings on the OPVs.
"It is my understanding that the Government has lost the arbitration and the country may be liable to pay out monies to BAE Systems in the sum of hundreds of millions of dollars," stated Imbert.
Ramlogan later issued a release refuting Imbert's claims which he described as "totally mischievous and completely false".
"It is, quite frankly, a reckless statement which bears absolutely no resemblance to the truth. In fact, the arbitration hearings have not yet been completed, with the parties scheduled to make their respective closing submissions to the Arbitration Tribunal later this month. Furthermore, the hearings have been in relation to liability only thus far, and the dates for the hearings on quantum are still to be finalised," stated Ramlogan.
"In the circumstances, the statement of Mr Imbert that the GORTT (Government of Trinidad and Tobago) is liable to pay money to BAEs is simply ludicrous and a pathetic attempt to deflect public scrutiny away from his role in the purchase of the water taxis. Nevertheless, in stark contrast to the Opposition's modus operandi in dealing with all matters of national importance, this Government shall continue to act responsibly in this matter and refrain from making any further comment at this time in relation to a legal dispute in which a decision has not yet been delivered," added Ramlogan.
In September 2010, the People's Partnership cancelled the purchase order for the offshore patrol vessels from United Kingdom's shipbuilders BAE, citing breach of contract in their delivery.
The former PNM Government had entered into a contract to purchase the OPVs for use by this country's Coast Guard.
Last year they were sold to Brazil.