Minister of Communication and Works Mark Vanterpool has denied rumours that he and other Government members have been ‘thieving’ money from the government’s coffers.
He indicated that he felt the urge to address the matter because persons may give credence to the claims if they are not refuted.
“They say it in the public and it goes all over the world, and you as a minister got to face the people who think that, because you ain’t say anything about it, you are really wheelbarrowing the money away,” Vanterpool said during his contribution to the 2017 Budget Debate in the House of Assembly yesterday, February 28.
He continued: “Have I made mistakes? Yes; I am not perfect. I am not going to go into anybody’s coffers and take the government’s money, and I am not going to accept the criticisms that I wheelbarrowed the money away. But I guess it’s called free speech; that’s what they call it nowadays.”
The minister accused the parliamentary opposition of being among the rumour-mongers.
“They (Opposition members) say that we thieving the money; we going away with it; we wheelbarrowing it all over the place. I’ve heard that and it hurts me when you are here working so hard, and when I have no interest in anything in the government’s coffers. My interest is in a place called One Mart and my real estate development. And it take me a wheelborrow to go up with money? You think it feels good?”
“The crosswinds are there, and you are here working hard to make the country go forward and some people within your own ambit – and some people who have been there before telling you that you’re wheelbarrowing the money away,” Vanterpool added.
The minister, in the meantime, emphasized that he has nothing to hide.
He noted that investigators once searched his company’s bank account while they were investigating another lawmaker, whom he did not identify.
“Years ago when they were investigating one of our own member’s in here (House of Assembly), I didn’t even know that they went to my bank account to find out if I gave people money; they go into my company account. I had to give them three years of my accounts. I didn’t mind that. My books are open because I am not doing anything wrong. My mother didn’t teach me that.”