October 7, 2011
Over EC$3 million spent on Ottley Hall Inquiry

Approximately EC$3.79 million has been spent on the Ottley Hall Inquiry since it began in 2003.{{more}}

This includes the $407,571 that has been paid to the commissioners; $1.03 million to the lawyers for the commission; $1.18 million which has been paid to other professionals and $1.16 million paid for administrative and other costs.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves gave the figures in his response to a question posed by Opposition Parliamentarian and area representative for West Kingstown, Daniel Cummings, during last Thursday’s sitting of Parliament.

Cummings had asked for a breakdown of the cost of the Commission of Inquiry thus far.

“I will say that the investment is a magnificent investment and we are not finished yet, because we have to know the full truth and there are certain other matters which would have to be tied up as a consequence when we know the whole truth,” Gonsalves said.

The prime minister contended that the EC$19 million in interest paid by the former NDP administration in the two and a half years, was more than what he paid for Ottley Hall and six times what has been spent on the Inquiry.

Gonsalves outlined the events which led up to the government making a request for debt forgiveness.

“We did that unilaterally, and the opposition said that we were risking having all the debt to be paid at one time, because I am not servicing the debt,” he explained.

But he further explained that he did not service the debt and a decision was made to set up a commission of inquiry under the Act of 1911.

Provisions were then put in place and rather than paying the EC$180 million, the government paid US$6 million, he said.

Gonsalves, in his response insisted that it was the commission of inquiry that was instrumental in assisting the government with its successful bid for debt relief.

He noted that the commission has been ongoing for eight years, but contended that was no fault of the government.

According to Gonsalves, the delays have been caused by “persons before the commission.”(DD)