Jagdeo clarifies supply of BMWs for 2007 Cricket World Cup
In recent days, sections of the local press have called into question a contract which was awarded in 2007 by the then government for the purchase of BMWs to transport dignitaries for the Cricket World Cup. The questions arose following the completion of a forensic audit of CWC 2007.
According to reports, the audit disclosed that in 2006, the administration took a decision to import 20 BMW vehicles for the event and for the Rio Conference that was to be held in Guyana in the same year. It also stated, a company named Prestige Motors Inc. was incorporated on December 6th, 2006 and later received $84M, representing half down-payment to bring in the 20 BMWs on behalf of the then Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport. The other half was paid seven months later on July 28th, 2007. The vehicles were delivered in February of 2007.
Former President, Bharrat Jagdeo in response to questions on Wednesday clarified that while he is unclear about the details of the incorporation of Prestige Motors which was responsible for providing the BMWs; the company had some connection to BMW.
According to the Mr Jagdeo, the State cannot give a BMW dealership to an individual.
“We can’t give BMW dealership to an individual, the State that is, between BMW and these people, so you have to work with whoever has the dealership,” he said.
While reports suggest that the company was registered a mere three weeks before the contract was awarded, officials of Prestige Motors confirmed that correspondence to establish the dealership and service center dates back to November 2005; almost 13 months before the order from Government. Also, the proposals to the Local Cricket Word Cup Committee were all sent via the Local Dealers in each territory.
Jagdeo who served as President during this period and would have been apprised of the details of the agreement says it was about six to eight months before the vehicles came in that the PPP/C Government was looking at various proposals from Prestige Motors, “including one where the BMW would have been brought in by the company…to say they will own it and will give us to use for the World Cup and Rio and we should allow them to sell it back with no taxes and we thought a lot of benefits would go to the private individuals if that happens.”
He then stated that yet another proposal was made for the company to pay 25 % of the taxes on the vehicles which was also not accepted.
However, he noted that the final option was then to buy the 20 vehicles although the company had proposed the importation of 78, while the government opted to rent local vehicles for the Rio Group Meeting.
“We were only buying 20 for Heads of State and stuff not for everyone and we chose the lowest series, 3 series,” the former President said.
Additionally, other Caribbean Islands opted for better and more elaborate purchases.
Jamaica in 2007, bought 37 BMW 5-Series motorcars provided by the German automaker for the ICC Cricket World Cup, Robert Bryan, executive director of the Local Organising Committee had confirmed. Twenty of the cars were kept by Government for their Protocol Fleet.
Barbados on the other hand purchased 80 BMW 3 Series, 5 Series and X3 SUVs to transport heads of state, VIPs and top cricketing officials. These were allowed to be sold by the dealers with softer duty structures.
BMW was the official sponsor of the event and host countries were mandated to purchase a few of the vehicles through their local dealers.