Saturday, February 24, 2018

Griffith knocks Rowley on OPV deal

NATIONAL Security adviser Gary Griffith on Saturday deemed as "sad" statements by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley that the Government's billion-dollar settlement from UK-based firm, BAE Systems, for three cancelled offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) was based on luck.

Griffith, in a media statement, said Rowley's expressions on the matter were an indication that the People's National Movement (PNM) leader did not believe this country was talented enough to make proper decisions.

Griffith said he was one of the most vocal disbelievers in the project and after being chided by Opposition members in the Parliament, he now feels "vindicated".

"The Opposition Leader's disappointing statement that the 'Government was lucky', based on the positive outcome of the arbitration matter, is indeed sad but not surprising," Griffith said.

"To state that the outcome was based on luck clearly demonstrates the Opposition Leader's unwillingness to accede to viewing Trinidad and Tobago as having the requisite talent and expertise on matters of national security to make informed and precise decisions pertaining to such matters."

Griffith said the project, undertaken by the PNM while that party was the ruling faction, was a result of some politicians with "illusions of grandeur".

"From day one, after looking at cost benefit analysis, and ascertaining the major flaws in this OPV project, I was the most vociferous in appealing for this project to be re-evaluated," Griffith said.

"I was openly condemned by the Opposition Lower House MPs on a regular basis, based on my advice to scrap the project. I now feel vindicated with the direction I recommended and that the Government pursued, not for just scrapping for the sake of it, but to ensure that we do not waste taxpayers' money and instead utilise our assets and resources in an efficient and effective manner."