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.