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The four-party coalition People’s Partnership government and the main opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) remained at odds on Monday as to the “true facts” surrounding the settlement’ reached with the British defence firm, BAE Systems, to settle a two year dispute over the cancellation of a multi-million dollar contract for three offshore patrol vessels (OPV).
The Trinidad and Tobago government last Wednesday said that BAE Systems had agreed to pay TT$1.382 billion (One TT dollar = US$0.16 cents) to settle the dispute.
“The nation can feel duly proud and relieved on the historic and successful settlement of the OPV arbitration which has resulted in the payment of close to $1.4 billion ($1.39 billion) to the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar said in a statement issued late on Sunday night.
“While critics poured scorn on the fact that we dared to challenge an international military organisation, Trinidad and Tobago can stand proud today that your government successfully defended the nation’s rights. This isn’t a political victory; it is an undeniably positive result for every citizen,” she added.
But Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley, speaking at a news conference here on Monday, said the government was attempting to block the media from obtaining the facts surrounding the accord. He described the move as being “nothing short of ridiculous”.