Around the middle of July last year a top police officer went on a pleasure ride in a Cessna 172 with a former US airman Dirk Barnes, managing director of T&T Air Support Co Ltd (TTASC).
In December last year the police service signed a contract with the TTASC for the lease of two Zenith light aircraft for close to $1million for a three months period. The leisure ride was confirmed yesterday by Eddie Dallsingh, managing director of Navi-Comm Avionics Ltd (NAL), who said the Cessna was his company’s aircraft. Dallsingh said it was his friend Daniel Condon who used his airplane regularly. Dallsingh, who described himself as an aircraft engineer with some 39 years experience, shot into the news recently when his name (Eddie) was called in Parliament as one of the two senders of emails concerning the ride involving “Jack.”
Opposition MP Donna Cox made the expose in Parliament last Friday as she queried the signing of the contract between the police service and the TTASC. Colleague, PNM MP Colm Imbert, also read e-mails before the Lower House between “Eddie and Danny”. Coming forward to confirm that the police officer did, indeed, fly in his aircraft, Dallsingh yesterday said he met Condon in August 2010 and introduced his proposal to him in October. He said Condon became his friend. Condon later introduced Barnes to him in January last year, he said. “But before this Dan had introduced my proposal to Dirk without my knowing. Later, Dirk formed TTASC.” He recalled, “Dan was my friend and is a pilot and he would regularly use my aircraft for leisure rides. “I know of one instance in July which he, the officer and Dirk went on a ride together.” Dallsingh made the disclosures as he repeated his call at a news conference yesterday at his company’s Piarco office for Minister of National Security John Sandy and chairman of the Police Service Commission Dr Ramesh Deosaran to launch an enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the award of the contract to the TTASC.
In a fax sent from the office of attorney Dave Persad, Dallsingh stated, “The company (NAL) intends to refute many of the statements being made by Dirk Barnes of TTASC with documentary evidence. “We are of the view that issuance of this contract was not above board and transparent.” Dallsingh’s main ground for this charge is that his proposal to the police service to supply the Zenith aircraft was not given equal treatment as Barnes’. Stressing that the Government was not involved in the issuance of the contract and that no blame should be cast upon the Government he said it was between the police service and the TTASC. Dallsingh said on October 6, 2010 he wrote Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs requesting an early opportunity to present his proposal to use the Zenith aircraft in the fight against crime and was not successful. He said on December 31 Gibbs wrote him back stating that all such presentations must be made to the National Security Ministry.
He claimed that he was the one who had been the leading, if not only, advocate for light sports aircraft for aerial surveillance and support purposes in the fight against crime. He further wondered if his idea was hijacked. Noting that his effort to present his proposal was well documented, Dallsingh said he did a presentation to former PNM national security minister Howard Chin Lee since 2003. “On August 44, 2004 further presentations were made to Martin Joseph, then national security minister. “Pursuant to instructions from Joseph, presentations were made on August 5, 2004 to the army, Coast Guard and the Air Wing Division. He said in June 2010, he made a presentation to Sandy. Dallsingh, clearly offended, asked, “Why was NAL not afforded the same courtesy/treatment as the TTASC?