‘We can’t plug leaks’
PORT OF SPAIN — National Security Minister Jack Warner yesterday denied ever being contacted by the media about matters related to the cancellation of an order for three offshore patrol vessels.
Speaking with reporters following a police town meeting at the Servol Training Centre, Beetham Gardens, Port-of-Spain last evening, Warner said he was surprised to read the report.
“I am amazed, $1.3 billion coming out of my ministry and nobody ever called me to ask anything. All of you just taking things and writing it just so?” he said.
On Sunday, Warner confirmed that cabinet had discussed the matter on Thursday, but stressed that it was still under arbitration.
A Sunday Guardian report stated that Attorney General Anand Ramlogan took a note to cabinet last Thursday, requesting approval for $1.3 billion to settle the matter which is in arbitration.
Referring to statements related to the cost, Warner last night said: “It was premature to make that kind of statement and anybody who tells you otherwise is not telling the truth. What takes place in Cabinet is supposed to be kept confidential but the way things are going now, it seems like nothing is.”
Pressed about information continually being leaked to the media, Warner said: “The prime minister has spoken to us on several occasions, almost on a weekly basis but we are not able to stem that flow of information outside prematurely. At the end of day, we will find out who the person or persons are, but it is not fair and not right for you to talk about cabinet matters in the public domain especially when the matter is not finalised.”
Warner denied that Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran had chaired last Thursday’s Cabinet meeting and that he “had left in a huff”. Instead, Warner said “Mr. Dookeran left two hours before that matter was discussed”.
The $1.5 billion OPV contract was signed by the former PNM administration in April 2007, and a cancellation notice was filed by the PP Government on September 17, 2010. (Guardian)