Government does not owe anyone for the 33 electrical buses bought recently for the Transport Board.
New Minister of Transport, Works and Water Resources Ian Gooding-Edghill made that abundantly clear this afternoon and promised to answer any questions regarding the purchase of the buses in the coming days.
Declaring that Government had “nothing to hide”, Gooding-Edghill assured Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley that everything had been done aboveboard.
Speaking before the Standing Finance Committee in Parliament this afternoon, Bishop Atherley questioned the financial arrangement for the acquisition of the buses and the total cost of the vehicles. He also queried if there was any indebtedness on the part of the Government and if so, to whom.
Bishop Atherley also raised concerns about why the buses were still parked in the Transport Board’s Weymouth and Mangrove depots.
While Gooding-Edghill said he would speak to the questions raised “within one week’s time” he gave the assurance that Government was not indebted.
“I don’t want to say too much. There will be an opportunity probably within a week or so and I intend to address the matter of electric buses. Safe to say, that the Government of Barbados is not indebted to anyone for the purchase of the 33 electric buses in Barbados.
“Also, I will also lay out within one week’s time how those electric buses are going to be deployed across Barbados. I am going to tell you how much money the Government of Barbados paid for the buses. I will also tell you how much money was spent in the electrical infrastructure and I will also give this House the assurance that we will answer any questions put to us in respect of the electric buses because we have absolutely nothing to hide,” Gooding-Edghill maintained.
The minister explained the reason why the buses were still parked was because drivers had to be properly trained how to use them.
“I don’t want to go into too much detail but I will also say this; the buses that are parked at Weymouth and elsewhere, the buses are being commissioned and there is also an element of driver training because you don’t drive an electric vehicle the same way you would drive a diesel or other petrol-based vehicle. There is an element of training that we are undertaking,” Gooding-Edghill pointed out.
He said bus representatives from the manufacturers BYD were in Barbados and were responsible for executing the training.
Gooding-Edghill said once that training was completed the buses would be commissioned and formally handed over to the Transport Board.