Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Montague wants Bunting sacked for misleading comments

Published:Friday | April 28, 2017 | 4:07 AMEdmond Campbell
Minister of National Security Robert Montague

Minister of National Security Robert Montague has rubbished claims by his opposition counterpart, Peter Bunting, that the company which was awarded the contract to import vehicles for the police force did not import one vehicle into the island in the past five years.

According to Montague, the Trade Board has informed the ministry that O'Brien's International Car Sales and Rentals Limited was issued with 27 permits in 2016 and used them. In 2015, the company received 60 permits and imported a similar number of vehicles, while in 2014 another 64 permits were issued and used. In addition, the company imported 206 vehicles in 2013, having received a similar number of permits from the Trade Board.

Addressing journalists at a press conference on Thursday, Montague took Bunting to task on his claim that the car dealer was unknown. According to Montague, the car dealer works in the tourism car rental industry and is qualified for concessions to import cars at 20 per cent duty to be used in the sector.

"They have accessed this facility and we have letters for May, June, July of 2015 where O'Brian's accessed the tourism concession and they brought in the cars because we also have copies of the Customs declaration forms," the minister added.

 

'I EXPECTED BETTER'

 

In another claim by Bunting that the Ministry of National Security was purchasing used Toyota Axio motor cars at a cost of $2.3 million each, Montague

dismissed this allegation, pointing out that the pre-owned cars cost $1.3 million each.

Montague made it clear that neither he nor the ministry awarded a contract to the company, noting that it was the purview of the National Contracts Commission.

The minister also castigated his opposition counterpart for alleging that he (Montague) gave the dealer an advance payment of $200 million. "...I expected much better from the Honourable Peter Bunting."

 

Surprising twist

 

In what appeared to be a surprising twist, Montague called on Bunting to tender his resignation as opposition spokesman on national security.

"If he doesn't tender his resignation, I am making a public call on Dr Peter Phillips to relieve him of that portfolio responsibility with immediate effect," the minister declared.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com