Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 16th 2013 Contents A5
June 16, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Firetruck information contradicting
From October last year to September
2013, $2 million has been spent to lease 19
cars, five SUVs and to hire 24 drivers for
the Hoop of Life initiative.
A spokesman for the Hoop of Life bas-
ketball league, however, feels the money
spent was justified and can be accounted
for.Speaking on the condition of anonymity,
the spokesman was responding to an issue
raised in Parliament on Thursday by Diego
Martin Central MP Dr Amery Browne who
stated that the Government had leased and
maintained a vehicle at a cost of $1 million
to transport officials of the programme.
However, Finance Minister Larry Howai
defended the Government stating that it
was not just one vehicle that was leased.
On Friday, the spokesman explained that
in the first leg of the competition 12 Nissan
Versa Sedan cars were each leased at $8,000
a month---from October last year to March
2013---from Miscellaneous Marketing Ltd.
Also, 12 drivers were retained and each
paid $4,500 a month.
The total bill for the cars and drivers
amounted to $900,000 during this six-
In the second leg of the competition---
which began in April and ends in Septem-
ber---the Hoop of Life leased 14 vehicles---
five SUV X-trails and nine Versa cars.
Each SUV was rented for $12,000 month-
ly, while the sedans were leased at $8,000
The total bill for the SUV was tagged at
$360,000, while the rental of the sedans
The overall salaries for the drivers was
computed at $378,000.
When tallied, the spokesman said the
leasing of the vehicles and the drivers salaries
from last October to this September is pro-
jected to cost $2,070,000.
The Hoop of Life was designed not only
as a tournament but a crime-fighting ini-
In March, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar increased the $1 million first prize,
which was won by Laventille, to $1.5 million
for this year s tournament, which began two
The spokesman said the 12 vehicles were
necessary because there were 12 regions,
each of which has its own co-ordinator.
Each co-ordinator is responsible for five
teams. There are 60 basketball teams.
"So we have to provide transport for them
(players) to these far-flung areas. We go as
far as Guayaguayare and Princes Town to
compete," said the spokesman.
The game goes on in
The spokesman said the initiative was
approved by Cabinet for $12 million while
Jack Warner served as minister of national
With Warner out of Government, there
was no reason to stop the programme, the
Has the programme exceeded its $12 mil-
The spokesman said they were still audit-
ing and paying bills from last year. "I can t
One of the rules of the games, the
spokesman said, was that any player who
ran afoul of the law will be expelled from
"For six months, the 720 players main-
tained a 100 per cent crime-free record. No
one was arrested and there was no acts of
violence. This is something to be proud of."
Hoop of Life spends...
$2m for cars,
Continued from Page A1
"About 300 to 400 feet down.
It was very far down," Ramsubir
Chief Fire Officer Carl Williams
reported that the water tender had
run 15 metres off the road. An ama-
teur video posted on YouTube esti-
mated the distance at 60 feet.
Ramsubir also claimed it took four
days to remove the water tender.
Williams report said the water ten-
der was removed on November 19,
two days after the accident.
Other inconsistencies have also
been discovered as documents con-
tradict statements made by former
national security minister Jack
Warner, permanent secretary Jen-
nifer Boucaud-Blake, and Legal
Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar.
While Boucaud-Blake, in an inter-
view, said the matter did not cross
her desk, new information uncov-
ered by T&T Guardian showed oth-
• On June 4, Boucaud-Blake in a
telephone interview from the United
Kingdom, said, "I cannot approve
anything more than $1 million.
"I did not approve anything con-
cerning that firetruck. It would have
had to be at the level of the Cabinet
and that was between the former
minister and Cabinet. It did not pass
across my desk at all."
• A November 22 note from for-
mer chief fire officer Williams
informed Boucaud-Blake of the
$10,189,115 payment that was out-
standing to Sammy s Multilift Serv-
ices Ltd. Boucaud-Blake forwarded
it to deputy permanent secretary
Sandra Lynch. The note from Bou-
caud-Blake, dated November 27,
said, "Deputy permanent secretary
Lynch for processing please."
• On November 30, Lynch raised
a red flag and wrote to Williams
seeking more information
She said, "I am to refer to your
memorandum FS 4/4/39 Temp.
dated November 22, 2012, on the
subject above and wish to enquire
in light of the cost of the service,
whether any other companies were
consulted with respect to the
retrieval of the equipment."
Lynch did not receive a response.
Williams has since gone on pre-
Contacted yesterday, Lynch said,
"I will not be able to speak to you
on that matter because we are not
permitted to speak to the press."
Asked to transfer the Guardian to
Boucaud-Blake, Lynch said she was
not yet out back to work. Telephone
calls to Boucaud-Blake s cellphone
also went unanswered.
Warner did not respond to text
messages sent to him on the mat-
ter.Warner had also claimed the
water tender went down 400 feet
and said the six firefighters were
trapped in the tender.
Ramadhar said the information
given to Cabinet was different from
what was in the public domain.
The Cabinet note does not sup-
port that statement.
Ramadhar too could not be con-
THE $6.8M JOB
The water tender from the
Arima Fire Station was
responding to a call about a fatal
car accident in Blanchisseuse
when it ran off the road.
Sammy's Multilift Services Ltd, a
subsidiary of Junior Sammy
Contractors, was hired to
retrieve the water tender and
submitted a quotation of
Cabinet eventually signed off
on a revised $6.8 million price.
Other wrecking services
estimated the cost of such a job
Former Miss T&T
Gabrielle Walcott and Lee
Pollonais were married
yesterday at the St
Peters RC Church, Pointe-
a-Pierre. The couple held
their reception at the
Petrotrin Staff Club
where they also took
their wedding photos.
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Links Archive June 15th 2013 June 17th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page