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Feb 15, 2021

Former PM Dean Barrow Appears before Commission of Inquiry

He was the former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. Still today, Dean Barrow was the first witness to testify before the Commission of Inquiry tasked with investigating the sale of Government assets. Barrow was questioned by commissioners for a little over an hour as they inquired into the sales of government assets, including all property, except for land, over the period October 2019 to November 2020.  The Commission was constituted to determine whether proper procedures, practices, and applicable rules and regulations were duly observed during these sales. The Commission will also determine if there were improprieties, irregularities, or wrongdoings in the sale of the assets. If that is the case, persons responsible will be pursued for criminal or civil action. This morning the former Prime Minister explained the process resulting in the sale of government vehicles. Head of the Vehicle Care Unit, Ruperto Vicente, would write to the Financial Secretary Joseph Waight to seek approval from the Minister of Finance. According to Barrow, government departments and ministries would typically correspond to the Vehicle Care Unit indicating that a vehicle car had crashed, become disabled, and was no longer in running condition. Vicente would then notify the FinSec, who would later approach the Minister of Finance. But according to Barrow, there is a political tradition during the time of elections, outgoing ministers would request to purchases vehicles assigned to them. But this time, according to Barrow, ministers, and C.E.O.s were told that they would not be able to purchase the vehicles. 


Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow, Former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

“Whenever though an election, general election was imminent there would be a number of requests coming from ministers who did feel for one reason or another or where not sure that they would be returning, the matter of political fortunes as you all know is an extremely dicey propositions, so there were would be not a stampede but an accelerated pace of request from outgoing ministers to be allowed to purchase their vehicles. This is a practice honoured time out of mind. So in the period leading up to the November eleventh general elections again, no minister or any other persons wrote to me. Indeed because we were aware that it was more likely that not that people would be making this request the financial secretary and I discussed this and we thought we better launched a pre-emptive strike because we were talking about especially unusual circumstance, especially critically circumstances where the finances and pretty much everything else had been ravaged by COVID. The financial secretary therefore wrote a letter with my endorsement and blessing to the Cabinet Secretary to say let ministers C.E.O.s all know who ever comes next there would be no money for replacement vehicles. So we will sell to outgoing ministers and chief executives officers no vehicle.”

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