The recently conducted Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the March unrest at the Georgetown Prison had a price tag of approximately $13M, Minister of State Joseph Harmon revealed on Wednesday.
Responding to a question on the issue during a post-cabinet press briefing he said “it would have costed us somewhere in the vicinity of about $13M”.
Since the APNU+AFC Coalition government took office a number of CoIs and Boards of Inquiry (BoIs) have been established. Concerns have been raised that such inquiries would bring with them heavy price tags.
Observers had said that the prison inquiry was a waste of taxpayers’ money particularly since over the years many similar investigations into the state of the prisons were conducted but the recommendations were not implemented.
The Prison CoI officially began on March 10 and came to an end on May 9. The report was handed over to President David Granger late last month.
The president who had set up the inquiry, had stated that the CoI, initially established to run for three weeks, was going on for too long. The commission had been granted a two-month extension to meet the Terms of Reference outlined for it after the initial three weeks had expired.
The Walter Rodney CoI had cost taxpayers well over $400M, a figure which included a $16M for the last day of the hearings, although no one testified. Granger when he took office had indicated his intention to end it particularly since it had taken too much time and was too costly.
This inquiry began in April 2014 under the previous administration. After several extensions were granted the report was unofficially submitted in February this year.
That report was submitted in May to Parliament and laid before the National Assembly a few days later.
Harmon during Wednesday’s press conference was asked to address concerns that there are still outstanding volumes of the report which have not been submitted.
He informed that government did inquire from the Chairman of the Rodney CoI, Sir Richard Cheltenham if anything was outstanding and he indicated in a written response that the volume submitted was all there was.
“There is no Volume 2 or Volume 3 so what you have is the complete document in Volume 1 so that is all there is there is nothing more to be released”, he said.