Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley never wanted to be driven in PM 1, sources in the Police Special Branch added.
When he was taken to Queen’s Hall on September 9 to be sworn in by President Anthony Carmona, Rowley insisted that he be not taken there either in PM 1 or PCM 1.
The new Prime Minister was escorted by Special Branch in an Audi 8 vehicle, with no Prime Ministerial flag fluttering in the breeze.
Two days later, he was back at Queen’s Hall to witness his entire Cabinet sworn in. Again, with the unofficial Audi 8.
Both PM 1 and PCM 1 are parked up in the car park at the Prime Minister’s official residence at St Ann’s. The Special Branch uses a third official vehicle, PCL 1, at times, to transport Rowley’s wife Sharon to her law chambers on Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain. But Rowley will ride in none of them. He was consistent because prior to moving in at the official residence, he ordered all the beds and furniture to be replaced.
He continues to use an Audi 8 SUV, with two flag poles with both flags covered. In another words, when Rowley’s entourage is passing, no one knows it is him.
Now talk is that the Office of the Prime Minister has ordered from Sterling Services a new vehicle, a S-class Mercedes Benz, at a cost of $970,763.26.
It also stated that procuring motor vehicles for the use of the Office of the Prime Minister was an administrative function carried out by relevant staff at its office. But sources at the Office of the Prime Minister stated that no vehicle can be ordered for the Prime Minister without his/her consent. He/she must sign off on the vehicle after being shown a model (s) from the Military officer in charge of the fleet of vehicles at the Prime Minister’s residence.
When that is done, it is only then that the Office of the Prime Minister can go ahead with arrangements to pay.
The OPM, in a press release this week, stated:
“There are a number of matters that are considered in determining the vehicle (s) used to transport the honourable Prime Minister, including, safety, comfort and security.
“The Office of the Prime Minister has been replacing motor vehicles on a phased basis as those older than five years have become increasingly costly to maintain.
“The estimates of the Office of the Prime Minister for the years 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 included sums for the replacement of motor vehicles.
All replaced vehicles are and will be publicly auctioned in accordance with the law,” the release added.