Thursday, February 02, 2012

Plane boss: I welcome probes: 'Transaction above board'. Police Service Commission asks Gibbs for report

Managing director of the Trinidad and Tobago Air Support Company Dirk Barnes said yesterday he welcomes any probe into the award of a $900,772 contract by Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs to his company.

"I welcome all the probes, and I will be very happy to meet with both the Police Service Commission and the Police Complaints Authority, if I have to, where I can present my documents at any point in time," said Barnes.

"If a probe is conducted, they will realize what the real facts are—they will understand what I have been saying from the very first day, and that is that this entire transaction was above board, and if anybody is suggesting otherwise, they clearly do not have the correct facts," said Barnes.

Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley has written to both the PSC and the PCA requesting an investigation into the transaction.

The controversy erupted after Opposition MP Donna Cox revealed in Parliament last Friday contents of e-mails between Barnes and his associate, Daniel Condon, who took Deputy CoP Jack Ewatski flying on two occasions before the contract was awarded.

"I am willing to meet with Mr Rowley, Miss (Donna) Cox, Mr (Colm) Imbert; the question is whether they are willing to meet with me," said Barnes.

Eddie Dallsingh, managing director of Navi-Comm Avionics, who had first made a proposal to Gibbs, offering the services of the light sport aircraft but did not get it, told the Express he believes a probe will unearth the truth into this entire controversy.

"I had requested since last week an investigation into this matter from the Police Service Commission; this matter must be investigated," said Dallsingh. —Anna Ramdass

Police Service Commission asks Gibbs for report

Friday, February 3 2012

THE POLICE Service Commission (PSC) at its meeting yesterday called on Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs for an updated report on the leasing of a light aircraft for the Police Service.

A source said the commission is particularly interested in the fiscal management of the process. The commission requested a reply in seven days from Gibbs who is due to return today from England where he was on official police business.

The source said that the commission which is the body constitutionally responsible for asking Gibbs for a report, wanted to ascertain whether the leasing was done within his powers.

The source pointed out that the commission was making no judgment at this time and is giving all concerned an opportunity to respond to public interest in the issue which was first raised in Parliament a week ago by PNM MP and former junior minister in the Ministry of National Security Donna Cox during debate of a private motion on the performance of the police.

The commission has also received a letter of complaint from Opposition Leader Keith Rowley and documents from Eddie Dallsingh, managing director of Navi-Comm Avionics Ltd (NAL) the company involved in the original negotiation for a similar surveillance aircraft for the Police.

Dirk Barnes, managing director of TT Air Support Company Ltd, with whom Gibbs signed an agreement to lease the aircraft, was a former consultant with NAL. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Minister of National Security John Sandy said he was disappointed at not being informed of the lease by Gibbs from TT Air Support Company Ltd. Sandy said he and the National Security Council should have been alerted.

In Gibbs’ absence, Deputy Commissioner Jack Ewatski met Sandy and gave him a report on the lease of the aircraft for $900,000 for a 12-week period to test its suitability for surveillance in the fight against crime.

Sandy said on Wednesday that while Gibbs had done nothing wrong, he was “ill advised” to lease the aircraft without informing him and the Security Council.

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