Gov’t to buy $95M in new vehicles for top officials; Teixeira says former Ministers returned defective vehicles

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The new People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government has set aside some $95 million in the 2020 budget to buy new vehicles for top officials of the government inclusive of the President, Prime Minister, and Vice President.

Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira said this was as a consequence of the damaged state in which several vehicles were handed over to the new government by former Ministers of the APNU+AFC government.

“When former Ministers submitted their vehicles we found cracked windshields, the seats were damaged and stained and ripped up – we don’t know who did that – and when some of the Ministers got into the vehicle and drove down the road they discovered different size tires on the vehicle and radios damaged… so this money is to do some repairs and purchase new vehicles,” she explained.

The funding, which is to be spent from October to December 2020, did not find favor with the APNU+AFC coalition with former Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson calling on Teixeira to provide greater detail.

She would only say that the vehicles were to serve top government officials including the President but could provide no attention details relating to procurement, except to assure that public tendering will be done.

“I’m not aware of the type or the cost. Because of the urgency to get the budget and get the money we had to rush and put in allocation because there was a problem and we had to attend to the safety and security of the President, Vice President, and Prime Minister so this allocation is here for that purpose because we had five weeks to bring the budget,” she added.

But Patterson pressed further for details he said should be available in order to go out to public tender. Patterson was also concerned with the short time frame of three months during which the procurement and purchase of the vehicles are to be completed.

Teixeira who was at the time defending the allocation which falls under the Office of the President during the consideration of Budget Estimates on Monday said come 2021 the government will make all details in relation to the purchase of the vehicles available.

She wrapped up by assuring that there will be a procurement process before the allocation was put to a vote and passed with a majority from the government side.

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