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Monday 14 October 2019
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Ministry hands CoP Griffith $56m cheque

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith  PHOTO SUREASH CHOLAI
Police Commissioner Gary Griffith PHOTO SUREASH CHOLAI

A DAY after Police Commissioner Gary Griffith confirmed the police service was owing their suppliers over $100 million, the Ministry of Finance yesterday disbursed $56 million to clear the debt.

Griffith, via telephone, told Newsday that the remaining $56 million was promised to be paid within a week, which will clear off the debt for the fiscal year.

The 2019/2020 budget will be read on October 7. On Thursday, Griffith revealed he was “miraculously” running the police service on credit. He said that since March, the police received not one a cent from Finance Minister Colm Imbert.

Answering urgent questions in Parliament yesterday, Finance Minister Imbert denied that the police were not given any money since March.

He said since March, his ministry released $244 million to the police for goods and services.

That $244 million is inclusive of the $188 million paid up to March and the $56 million paid between Thursday and yesterday.

Told of this, Griffith yesterday said he won’t get into any cat fight with Imbert but questioned if the minister’s claim that $188 m was paid was true, why then was $56 million disbursed to the police yesterday, with a promise by the ministry to release the remaining $56 million, within a week.

Griffith argued that there were small businesses feeling the brunt of the unpaid debt. For the year, goods and services, which include meals for officers and prisoners, fuel, repairs for vehicles, IT services and maintenance amounted to $312 million.

The remaining balance is $56 million which will be paid within a week.

Imbert told the Parliament that he had paid almost 98 percent of the allocations and promised to “release the entire remaining three per cent” soon.

He told the Parliament that the recurrent allocation was $2.195 billion of which $2.104 billion was paid.

For the development program, allocation was $56.1 million with $24.6 million being released while of the $68.5 allocated for infrastructure development $53 million was disbursed. Imbert did not say what was the allocation for goods and services and how much was disbursed for that.

This is the second time Griffith and Imbert have had to publicly spar over money owed to the service.

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