Dutch probe UNC’s acquisition of Damen vessels

Dutch law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties are un­der­tak­ing a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion and foren­sic probe in­to the for­mer Peo­ple’s Part­ner­ship Gov­ern­ment’s ac­qui­si­tion of cer­tain Damen ves­sels, Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young has con­firmed.

Young dis­closed this in the Sen­ate yes­ter­day re­spond­ing to an Op­po­si­tion mo­tion by UNC sen­a­tor Wade Mark who’d called for a crim­i­nal foren­sic probe in­to the PNM Gov­ern­ment’s ac­qui­si­tion of two Austal-built Cape Class ves­sels for the Coast Guard.

In­stead, Young re­vealed the Dutch au­thor­i­ties were prob­ing the for­mer Gov­ern­ment on the Damen ves­sels.

In May 2015, the past PP ad­min­is­tra­tion had or­dered 12 ves­sels from the Dutch Damen firm for TT$1.35 bil­lion. This was re­port­ed­ly, with­out im­me­di­ate­ly hav­ing the mon­ey in hand to pay for them. In June 2015, the Gov­ern­ment ac­cept­ed one ves­sel and pro­ject­ed re­ceiv­ing more.

Yes­ter­day, UNC’s Mark had tak­en is­sue with cost fig­ures for the PNM Gov­ern­ment’s ac­qui­si­tion of the two Austal ves­sels. Mark in­di­cat­ed there have been too many con­flict­ing fig­ures, cit­ing some giv­en. Mark said a Ju­ly 2018 Cab­i­net minute in­di­cat­ed the re­al price was US$89m. But he said Young re­cent­ly said the price was US$41m each.

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