Leader of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Verla DePeiza has questions about the arrangements related to the procurement of the new garbage trucks in the island.
And she said that Prime Minister Mia Mottley failed to answer them, as hoped, when she spoke on Thursday night about her seven-year plan to transform Barbados into a world-class society.
She described Mottley’s 60-minute speech as eye opening for what was not said, adding that it sent a clear signal that tougher times were ahead for Barbadians.
“It didn’t answer any questions. Even in relations to the garbage trucks and circumventing the procurement rules. I don’t recall any state of emergency being declared or any emergency situation surrounding the garbage that would permit circumventing the procurement rule.
“We have not been told who it was that brought them in. If there is any connection close or business to any person in Government or Cabinet. There is a lot that we have not been told,” DePeiza said.
“We need more information on the garbage trucks. We haven’t been told costs, who brought them in, nothing. And it seems to me as though we have two shipments. The one that we were always expecting from Simpson Motors is still coming, plus this shipment [that recently arrived].
“Not that we can’t do with more trucks, but what is the additional cost, who brought them in, was any due diligence done in relation to this person or company that brought them in? We need to have the answers to those questions, this having been one of the fastest procurement ever,” she added.
In her conversation with the nation, Prime Minister Mottley cautioned Barbadians to brace for the inconvenience that would come with Bridgetown being redeveloped. DePeiza said she was particularly interested in what would be happening to landmarks in Bridgetown as that transformation took place.
“We know that the National Insurance building is to be demolished, but she dropped hints in relation to the Treasury building. When in Opposition, there was a lot of concern about the World Heritage Site designation, and I am wondering if that is no longer a consideration,” she said.
The attorney-at-law also added that while Government borrowed money to prop up the country’s reserves, she did not find “any joy in knowing how many weeks of reserve” the country has while not knowing the specifics of the loans.
The DLP President said she also thought the Prime Minister would have outlined specific initiatives to help develop the country’s social landscape.
“The abolition of the 11-Plus, what are we replacing it with? Have we had consultations on that? I recognize that we are lapsing in terms of consultations.
“So it is certain for me that the need to have this seven-year plan, the four-year IMF [International Monetary Fund] programme may be under some pressure,” DePeiza said.