Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 27th 2014 Contents A7
Thursday, February 27, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Life is a dream,
Life is a game,
Life is Love,
While the T&T Government has
not yet signed the dotted line for
the purchase of a Chinese-made
long-range vessel, National Secu-
rity Minister Gary Griffith yesterday
assured a decision will be made in
the best interest of the country.
He said before the final decision
was made there would be further
discussions with Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar upon her
return from China.
Persad-Bissessar, on an official
State visit, said she was aware that
China was building two LRVs and
pleaded with China s Premier Li
Keqiang to sell one.
Griffith said among the key areas
to be looked at before purchase
would be finance, the specifics of
the vessel, including the electronic
system and compatability and main-
"I can assure that the Prime Min-
ister has been excellent as the chair
of the National Security Council.
China has given us a proposal and
we are exploring it.
"This is not an off-the-shelf item.
We also need to look at what the
Chinese has to offer and whether
this vessel would be compatible with
our system and could be linked to
our radar," Griffith said.
On the issue of transparency he
said there was consultation with the
Committee for the Acquisition of
Naval Vessels, chaired by retired
commodore Anthony Franklin.
The issue of tendering was raised
by Diego Martin North East MP
Colm Imbert who said he was both-
ered by the tendering procedures.
Griffith said: "Mr Imbert raised
several questions regarding tendering.
What is explicit here is that this has
nothing to do with politics or willy-
"It was based upon sound advice
from our naval experts. Is Mr Imbert
suddenly a naval expert? Every time
you try to do something somebody
will find some excuse why it should
not be done.
"The PNM buying a blimp which
turned out to be a waste, that is
absurd. The 12 interceptors which
are now all down, that is absurd.
The purchase of four helicopters at
six times the cost and which could
hardly be used that is absurd," Grif-
He also shot back at Imbert who
described the long-range vessel as
being "more or less the same as an
offshore patrol vessel."
In 2007, the PNM government,
of which Imbert was a Cabinet
member, signed a £150 million con-
tract with a company called VT
Shipbuilding to build and commis-
sion vessels to patrol local waters
and provide naval protection and
British defence manufacturer BAE
Systems eventually acquired VT
Shipbuilding in 2009.
In 2010 the People s Partnership
Government cancelled the contract
because the vessels were not built
according to specifications and the
weapons system was defective.
Griffith called on Imbert to answer
that if there was no difference
between the OPV and the long-range
vessel why then did the PNM shell
out twice the amount to purchase
"I am very glad Mr Imbert said
there is no difference because he
should tell the nation why then did
the PNM spend some $800 million
when the cost of these vessels is half
"He needs to answer that, so the
big difference between a long range
patrol vessel and an OPV is some
$400 million less," Griffith said.
Machel Montano will perform last in both the Groovy
and Power Soca categories of the International Soca
Monarch competitions tomorrow night.
Montano, who pulled first at yesterday s draw for
positions for the competition, chose position number
12 in the Groovy category before returning to his seat
to watch fellow band member Farmer Nappy (Darryl
Henry) make the choice to perform at position number
Montano, the reigning monarch in both categories,
shares the Power Soca title with veteran Austin Lyons
(SuperBlue) who returned to the Carnival competition
last year with his song Fantastic Friday.
Lyons will perform in position five.
The two winners shared a playful interaction at yes-
terday s event when Montano left his seat to choose his
position but was called back by Lyons.
Montano, who had already chosen the last position,
put the slip of his paper into his pocket before having
a brief conversation with Lyons who had joined him on
After the private conversation, Montano s position
was announced, followed by Lyons, who will be per-
forming his recent release Carnival Yo Yo.
The Groovy category will feature 12 competitors, while
11 will compete in the Power category.
It's not 'willy-nilly' decision
Machel sings last in
both Groovy, Power
US celebrities in T&T for the International Soca
Monarch Competition, from left, Boris Kodjoe,
Nicole Ari Parker and Damien Dante Wayans
address members of the media during a news
conference at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain,
yesterday. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
3. Nadia Batson
4. Patrice Roberts
5. Austin Lyons
6. Iwer George
8. Devon Matthews
9. Destra Garcia
10. Hollice Mapp
11. Machel Montano
1. Ravi B
2. Mr Famous
3. Erphaan Alves
4. Skinny Fabulous
5. Denise Belfon
6. Biggie Irie
7. Destra Garcia
9. Farmer Nappy
11. Kerwin Du Bois
12. Machel Montano
Griffith to Imbert on China vessel:
Somebody "ketch a vaps"
The intended acquisition of the
vessel was a reflection that
"somebody ketch a vaps" to go to
China to purchase a vessel which
the country knows nothing about,
including what material it was
made of, Imbert said.
He called on Griffith and the
Prime Minister to say exactly why
they chose China as opposed to an
European country which had a
reputation for building fine vessels.
"They need to answer why
China, which is not among the
leading shipbuilding countries in
the world. Why not Australia,
Israel or Britain?
"There is a complete lack of
transparency. What is so special
about China? And therein lies the
problem," Imbert added.
On the issue of
recommendations made by
Franklin, Imbert said he had the
greatest respect for him but
Franklin had never built a ship in
"He has operated vessels but I
don't think he is up-to-date on
shipbuilding. It is very easy for Mr
Griffith to scapegoat a nice man
like Mr Franklin. It is improper,"
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