Friday, November 16, 2012

AG Ramlogan reiterates that T&T won OPV arbitration, contradictory media report wrong

AG Anand Ramlogan
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan reiterated Thursday that the Government of Trinidad & Tobago won the long standing arbitration dispute with the British company, BAE Systems, and that any report that contradicts that is wrong.
Ramlogan was speaking at the weekly post cabinet briefing. He was responding specifically to a report originating in Scotland that stated that BAE won and that the Government of Trinidad & Tobago would have to pay the company.

Ramlogan said it's definitely not so, adding that he is not sure where the misinformation originated. 

The erroneous story that opposition sources in T&T have been circulating is from a Scottish paper, the Evening Times. The story titled Clyde Shipyard bosses win... was based on a report from Trinidad and unnamed "industry sources". 

The report also stated that the paper did not get any confirmation from either the shipyard. CLYDE is the BAE subsidiary that was building the Offshore Patrol Boats (OPV) for Trinidad & Tobago. 

The paper stated: "... last month Cabinet members in the Republic were known to have approved a payment to BAE of £130m to end the row. Shipyard bosses refused to disclose the sum involved but last night issued a brief statement to confirm both sides had reached an agreement...

"Company chiefs refused to comment further but industry sources last night confirmed that BAE was to be given £130m in compensation by the Trinidad and Tobago government whose senior officials could not be contacted."

Ramlogan pointed out that as far as he knows there is no statement from BAE to support the Scottish report and reaffirmed that BAE has agreed to pay compensation in the sum of TT$1.3 billion. 

He said he would give a full statement on the arbitration matter in Parliament on Friday.

Ramlogan also dismissed the opposition PNM's contention that scrapping the OPVs was a bad decision that compromised Trinidad & Tobago's national security. He said there is no empirical evidence to support such "outlandish propaganda" by the opposition.

He said if the opposition's contention were accurate then there would have been an increase in drug trafficking and other crime. However the evidence is that crime has actually decreased.

The AG also commented on other aspects of the OPV matter. With respect to the legal costs, he said it was agreed during the arbitration discussions that each side would pay its own legal cost. 

Ramlogan explained that the previous Patrick Manning administration had committed the government to loans of £140 million (TT$1.4 billion) of which £41.7 million (TT$424 million) has been repaid. He said because of the nature of the transaction the government can never expect to recover all the money. However he said at the end of the process T&T would have a surplus.

Reporters asked the AG if there would be any negative fallout for the T&T media for their erroneous reporting of the OPV story. He said that's not an issue because government respects the right to freedom of expression. Ramlogan added that he expects the media will operate with integrity, responsibility and self regulation.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai