By Carlena Knight
Director of the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS), Philmore Mullin, is firing back at comments made by Barbuda MP and Leader of the Barbuda’s People Movement (BPM) Trevor Walker regarding the audit of the Barbuda relief supplies.
Walker, on Thursday, reiterated calls to make public a detailed audit following a verbal squabble between Barbuda Council member Paul Nedd, and Prime Minister Gaston Browne NODS.
Mullin, while speaking on OBSERVER AM on Friday morning, sought to clear the air on that issue where he noted that his office has passed on the relevant information to the auditors and it is now out of their hands.
“We have records of the all the items that were distributed to Barbuda and that record can be made public, but as far as that is concerned, the NODS side of that equation has been sorted by the accountant. It is the auditors who have to go through that. You have to remember that this is a process that has several pieces to it. My piece has been satisfied as far as I am concerned and with the other pieces, I have no control over that,” said Mullin.
Regarding the storage of supplies for two years, Mullin admitted that some items were kept but others arrived after that point in time. He also explained that it was his decision to keep the items in Antigua because of storage and security concerns at the time as, according to him, some items had been going missing on the sister isle at the time.
He also addressed accusations made by Walker and others about the condition of the supplies, saying that the items were in good condition even though some of them were not brand new.
He also denied Walker’s reports that the council hired a technician from Mount St John’s Medical Centre to assess items, say it was on his (Mullin’s) directive that the said technician went to the sister isle to report on the condition of the medical supplies.
Mullin shared that upon speaking to the technician he believed the items were all in good condition and is therefore questioning claims by Walker that two of the 10 beds donated were inoperable.
“What strikes me as odd is the assertion that we would have taken the best for Antigua and only sent the scraps to Barbuda. Nothing could be further from the truth, but regardless of the condition of the supplies that they claim they were in, does that give them the right to leave them out in the open like that?” Mullin queried.