Premier Andrew Fahie has once again sought to correct claims that he initiated discussions with EZ Shipping to use its barges as part of the territory’s sea defences.
The barges were introduced at the start of the pandemic and were used as surveillance platforms by the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the execution of their duties.
Both the former governor, Augustus Jaspert, and former police commissioner, Michael Matthews, have publicly said they were not in favour of using barges.
But, according to Premier Fahie
, the barges were never his idea to begin with nor did he push for the contract with EZ Shipping, was claimed by Jaspert.
The issue was again mentioned in the House of Assembly recently so Premier Fahie
said he needed the record to be clear on the matter.
“All the paperwork of National Security Council and everything will show that the Premier was not the one who suggested nor brought forward these barges,” Premier Fahie
“I can’t sit here and hear this again and not come in to clarify this. There is no information existing, showing that the Premier was the one that suggested the barges. Those came from the JTF,” the Premier added.
He continued: “All the [Premier and] Minister of Finance did in the time of great need is facilitated it because of the necessity of protecting the borders and there was no other alternative at the time.”
According to reports coming out of the Commission of Inquiry
, an unsolicited offer was allegedly made by EZ Shipping’s owner, Clyde Chalwell, to execute the contract even though a request for the radar platforms had not been placed in the public domain at the time.
These barges reportedly cost the territory nearly $12,000 per day to assist with border security.