Opposition seeks answers on importation of fire trucks

Opposition seeks answers on importation of fire trucks

Thursday, October 15, 2020

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OPPOSITION Member of Parliament (MP) for St Andrew South Eastern Julian Robinson has raised questions in the House of Representatives regarding the Government's importation of vehicles and equipment for the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB).

Robinson raised a number of issues, including whether the Government had entered into a contract to acquire new trucks and pumpers; the contract's sum total cost and cost per unit; the contract's methodology; the rationale for using the type of contract; the involvement of the board; whether JFB personnel had travelled overseas to conduct a personal assessment; and what was the difference in the cost per unit from the competing entities.

Below are the questions asked of the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie and tabled by Robinson at Tuesday's sitting of the House of Representatives at the Jamaica Conference Centre.

1. Can the minister confirm if the Government has entered into a contract to acquire new fire brigade trucks and pumpers?

2. If the answer to part 1 is in the affirmative, will the minister please state the terms of the contract, to include the following:

(a) Contract sum in total and per unit costs; (b) company contracted; (c) contract methodology - competitive bidding, sole sourcing; Can the minister state the rationale for the contract methodology utilised? Can the minister confirm if the board of the Jamaica Fire Brigade was involved in the contract negotiation and approved this contract?

3. Can the minister confirm if the Jamaica Fire Brigade was in discussions/negotiations with another company in relation to acquiring new fire engines? If the answer is in the affirmative, will the minister please state the outcome of those discussions and specifically the following: (a) The proposed contract sum and the per unit costs; (b) Whether contract financing was offered to the JFB?

4. Will the minister please state whether personnel from the JFB travelled overseas to conduct a technical assessment on the type of fire engine most suited for Jamaica? If the answer is in the affirmative, will the minister please state where the personnel went and what the technical report recommended. What is the difference in the per unit cost for each truck between the contracted company and the other company with which the JFB was in negotiations?

McKenzie, to whom the questions were directed as the portfolio minister for the JFB, told the sectoral debate at the beginning of the year that the first 16 units in a complement of firefighting vehicles ordered from overseas would arrive in March, with the remainder expected by May.

He said that the JFB would be provided with 30 fire trucks in the new fiscal year, as Government continued to equip the fire service to adequately respond to emergencies. A sum of $1.9 billion has been earmarked for the project in the 2020/2021 estimates of expenditure, which were approved earlier this year by the House of Representatives.

— Balford Henry

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