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Griffith wants value for money

Monday, March 24 2014

National Security Minister Gary Griffith is ensuring that whatever equipment the ministry acquires, it is done based on a lot of dialogue to make it they gets value for money.

Griffith was speaking to reporters yesterday after the Trinidad and Tobago Cadet Force 104th anniversary church service at Santa Rosa Roman Catholic Church, Woodford Street, Arima.

The minister criticised the purchase of four Agusta Westland Helicopters by the last Government at the cost of $2 billion.

“For five years, the Trinidad and Tobago people can’t get value for their money. They cannot use the helicopters. They couldn’t be used during the Carnival season, it couldn’t be used during the black out, so we got hit so I have to be careful as to how we spend our money,” he said.

In a statement, Griffith said the helicopters do not lend themselves to independent off-shore operations in the maritime surveillance role as they lack search radar and are dependent on the shore-based radar or radar on surface platforms. The helicopters were delivered with a civil registration - 9Y - and as such can carry no armament. The 9Y registration meant there were severe limits on the operational usage of the aircraft.

He said members of the Defence Force had no choice but to use the National Operations Centre (NOC) helicopters to get to locations because of the restrictions of the Agusta Helicopters.

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