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Feb 25, 2021

Hugo Patt to Answer for the Fire Sale 2020 Toyota Tacoma

Hugo Patt

The Commission of Inquiry into the sale of government vehicles and other equipment at the end of the United Democratic Party’s last days in government resumes on Friday.  Former Deputy Prime Minister Hugo Patt will be among those appearing. He is facing scrutiny about the purchase of a 2020 Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck. It was assigned to the Corozal North Area Representative and acquired at a much lower cost than what was valued by the Customs and Excise Department. According to documents already presented, the purchase was not approved by former Prime Minister Dean Barrow.  Since the public hearings commenced on February fifteenth, former Prime Minister Dean Barrow, as well as Financial Secretary Joseph Waight and head of the Vehicle Care Unit, Ruperto Vicente, have been summoned before the commission.  In respect of the vehicle in question, here’s what Barrow had to say during the inaugural session.


Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow, Former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance [File: February 15th, 2021]

“The only other exception in the run up to the General Elections  came by way of a request from the then Deputy Prime Minister the honourable Hugo Patt. Again the Deputy Prime Minister went directly to the Financial Secretary who came to me. I spoke to the DPM and said to him, but you know the policy. I thought that also as a special favour, I would agree and I so indicated to Joe Waight. What happened thereafter though was that the usual requirement from me that there would be a customs valuation so we can document that we were not selling for any undervalue did not happen. I don’t know whether it was because that didn’t happen or whether it was some other reason, whether it fell through but that one did not come to me for my formal approval. Now understand that I am not trying to any way act like some artful dodger, I had said and I repeat, orally I had agreed. If it had come with the customs valuation I would affix my initials behind the words I approve but it did not come so properly speaking I never approved that one.”

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