Harmon says ‘total lie’ that APNU+AFC Ministers returned damaged vehicles
Statements in the National Assembly by Minister of Governance Gail Teixeira that former Ministers of the APNU+AFC Government had handed over damaged and neglected vehicles to the new PPP Ministers have not found favour with Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon.
Harmon said the statement by Teixeira to justify the spending of $95 million to purchase new vehicles for top officials of the Government is “totally erroneous” and a “total lie.”
“In fact, when we demitted office all vehicles were parked in the Office of the President compound and the new Ministers were there and lining up as if it was a vehicle market,” Harmon said during a virtual press conference on Friday.
He said all the vehicles were returned in “tip-top condition” and are now being used by the new Ministers of the PPP Government.
“I really want to know what she is talking about. President Irfaan Ali is in the vehicle that former President Granger used, and Prime Minister Mark Phillips is in the vehicle that the former Prime Minister Mr. Nagamotoo used…so I don’t know what she is talking about,” Harmon told reporters.
Teixeira had defended the $95 million allocated in the 2020 budget to buy new vehicles for top officials of the Government inclusive of the President, Prime Minister and Vice President.
She said then that 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,” Teixeira had said.
Harmon, who has slammed the Government for failing to increase the wages of public servants, believes it is a waste of money to buy new vehicles.
The Opposition Leader said that the claims by Teixeira is a total lie.
Harmon, in turn, claimed that a dead rat was found in a vehicle Teixeira returned in 2015 when the PPP lost the elections and which was used by then Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson.
It was Patterson who on Monday grilled Teixeira on the funding, which is to be spent from October to December 2020.
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 said come 2021 the government will make all details in relation to the purchase of the vehicles available.