– when grilled on maintenance costs; $ 8M was spent repairing 1 truck

Commander Vernon Burnette during the PAC sitting

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) began Monday with the Guyana Defense Force (GDF) grilling over its spending on vehicles and the head of the budget agency admitting that, even now, the Police fleet of 232 vehicles is inadequate.
During the CAP sitting, Coastguard Commander Vernon Burnette represented the GDF. He was grilled on Police spending on vehicles, including the $ 8.5 million spent to repair one Bedford truck in 2016. It was during his response that Burnette mentioned how short the GDF was for vehicles.
“The high cost of vehicle maintenance is a concern for us. Most of our fleet is quite old. But we do not have enough vehicles to carry out the operations we are required to do. As we speak, because of COVID, many of our Managers and senior staff officers are out of vehicles, ”said Burnette.
“All their vehicles have been taken away and provided for operational border duties. And even on the coast. Therefore, it is a fact that we have been spending a lot on maintaining our fleet.
Burnette claimed that the Police have not been replacing vehicles in a timely manner. When replacements are made, the size is also an issue. As a result, he noted that the police had been stuck with vehicles in need of regular maintenance.
“We have not been replacing those vehicles in a timely manner and in the sizes we would like, that would allow us to dispose of these (old) vehicles. That’s a concern for us, ”said the Commander.
However, Burnette’s explanations as to why one truck cost $ 8.5 million to repair did not satisfy PAC members, who questioned the scope of the truck’s delivery and what brand and year it was. Initially, the Commander was unable to answer the PAC’s inquiries, causing the Committee’s Chairman, David Patterson, to question why the GDF was so ready.
It was subsequently revealed before the CAP that the truck was a Bedford 4 ton tipper truck, which was assigned to the 4th Engineering Battalion. In addition, the $ 8.5 million repair bill was paid in monthly installments throughout 2016. Burnette was able to tell the LLP, however, that work had been done on the truck’s engine.
The CAP also heard that the Force has 232 ground vehicles in its fleet, five of which are involved in sensitive intelligence operations. For 2016 alone, which the CAP is currently dealing with, the GDF spent some $ 371 million on vehicle maintenance.
Besides the Bedford 4-ton Tipper truck, there were two other Bedford Model MTCV trucks that cost $ 4.473 million and $ 2.803 million, respectively, to maintain in 2016. There was also a 7th Generation Toyota Hilux D / Cab that cost $ 6.345 million to maintain and a $ 4.994 million Nissan Frontier D / Cab.
However, due to the GDF’s continued inability to answer questions asked by members of the CAP, the committee eventually decided to send Burnette and his officials away. According to Patterson, they will be expected to return later to continue exploring the GDF’s funding for the year 2016.

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