Two senior Government Ministers yesterday responded to a newspaper report that an additional $1.3 billion was needed to settle the arbitration involving the cancellation of the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) contract saying that the matter had not yet been determined.
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan yesterday described a Guardian report of the Cabinet meeting as "totally false" noting that judgment had been reserved in the matter.
National Security Minister Jack Warner said he, too, would await the arbitration ruling before commenting further.
"We discussed that the matter, it is still under arbitration and since it is still under arbitration. I don't think it is prudent for any member of Cabinet to speak about the matter; it is not settled. As Minister of National Security under whose portfolio that comes I think the best to do at this point is wait for the completion of the arbitration and as soon as that is concluded the public will be appraised," he said yesterday.
Warner made the statement to reporters at the Church of Assumption, Long Circular, Maraval while at the Police Service Interfaith Service yesterday.
Ramlogan too cited that the matter was still under arbitration and as such could not be discussed.
"I know the PNM (People's National Movement) has been boasting that we lose the OPV arbitration and the country will be forced to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars," he said, in a brief telephone interview.
But Ramlogan defended his two-year-old action.
"For myself, I think the Government acted properly and had a good case. It is left to be seen what the eventual result would be," he said.
In its 2011 annual financial report, BAE Systems, the British company which had been contracted to build the three vessels, noted that its income for that year reflected a "charge of £100 m (TT$1 billion) was taken in 2010 upon termination of the contract with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago".
When asked about that additional figure, Ramlogan said he could not interpret the company's financial documents.
The financial documents also stated that the tribunal hearing for the cancelled contracts was scheduled for the first half of 2012.
In 2010, when the People's Partnership took office, the Government cancelled the contract that the PNM had secured with BAE Systems in London. The $1.5 billion contract was expected to produce three OPV's for border patrol. Those vessels were subsequently purchased by Brazil.