Thursday, December 14, 2017

Imbert: $700m loss on OPVs

There was a $700 million loss in the settlement of the Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) negotiations between Government and British Aerospace Engineering (BAE), according to Opposition MP Colm Imbert's calculations.

Imbert together with Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley held a news conference at the Opposition's Port of Spain office yesterday to question what victory was the Government claiming when there was a loss.

Imbert said the former PNM Government entered a loan agreement of $1.98 billion to purchase the three OPVs by way of two agreements:

(1) An export credit agreement between the Government and BNP Paribas and Lloyds TSP Offshore at TT$1.69 billion and (2) A commercial credit facility between the Government and the same two institutions at TT$295 million.

Imbert said in August 2010, a note was prepared for the People's Partnership Cabinet by the National Security Ministry which recommended the acceptance of the first OPV and indicted that a total of $1.37 billion had been disbursed to BAE thus far.

Imbert noted that in addition to the $1.37 billion that was paid, one must also look at the interest payments on the loans- which were amalgamated with the six fast patrol craft that were received under the PNM.

The total interest, he said, totalled TT$581 million and of this amount, the OPVs accounted for at least $330 million in additional interest payments.

Imbert added the $1.37 billion to the $330 million and came up with $1.7 billion expended up to the end of 2012.

In addition, Imbert said that all unrecoverable costs which totalled some $365 million must be added to this figure which brought the expenditure up to some $2.05 billion.

Imbert provided a breakdown of the unrecoverable costs as follows:

•Training - $60 million

•Maintenance - $60 million

•UK Government support- $36 million

•Consultants and legal fees- $21 million

•Currency exchange and export credit premium- $59 million

•Upgrade of infrastructure at Stables Bay- $112 million

•Arms, ammunition, travel, subsistence costs etc - $17 million

Imbert questioned how could Government claim a victory when $1.35 billion was to be recovered and $2.05 billion spent which totalling a deficit of $700 million.

He added that internal documents from the National Security Ministry under this administration gave an assessment of the implications to security without the OPVs—that illegal activity will remain rampant.

Imbert had in his possession not only the internal documents of the National Security Ministry but also Cabinet notes from the said Ministry which recommended the acceptance of the OPVs which were later rejected.