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ODPM must be sensible, not sensitive
The response of the ODPM’s CEO Dr Stephen Ramroop to questions about the organisation’s spending is if anything more troubling than the expenditure itself. In the face of questions from the Sunday Guardian, Dr Ramroop could not answer exactly how much was being spent on leasing a trailer truck and transport bus, but promised to supply detailed information after it was requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
Now, the disaster preparedness boss is said to be investigating the “leaks” which led to information about ODPM spending coming to the attention of the public. That’s an unfortunate attitude to take. Of all the members of the National Security Council, Dr Ramroop and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management are the only participants who can and should be totally open and accountable in their operations, rather than hunting down the source of supposedly “sensitive” information.
Indeed, the state of the ODPM is of such critical importance to T&T that transparency in its operations should be reflexive rather than requested. Among other things, there were not unreasonable queries about the number of body bags Dr Ramroop had reportedly ordered, which puzzled and not surprisingly alarmed some citizens—did Dr Ramroop foresee that there might be 12,500 fatalities in some imminent natural disaster? What did he know that the rest of the country didn’t?
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