TEMA gets three new vehicles for $.9m

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine –

OVER $900,000 has been spent to procure three new vehicles which have been added to the fleet at the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA).

At a handing-over ceremony at TEMA’s headquarters in Bacolet, Scarborough on June 21, Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Farley Augustine said the agency had not been in receipt of new vehicles since 2011/2012.

Augustine said TEMA was overdue for new vehicles.

“When I met with TEMA staff in 2022, one of the things raised is that the vehicles they had, they were struggling with them.

“I’ve seen it first hand how the director had to beg a drop to get home and to get to meetings during the peak of the oil-spill response, because the vehicle assigned to him just wasn’t working.

“It was in the garage at the time.

“I know how much efforts you had to go through especially the director at CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) to get the vehicles working, especially during a response. That is critical because when we have an emergency, we don’t have time to troubleshoot a vehicle.”

Augustine promised that TEMA’s fleet of vehicles would be further increased when the next financial year started in October.

“We start with three today, and we are preparing to see if we can lease about four more. These (three) were purchased outright, and we’re looking to lease four additional vehicles to add to the fleet and hopefully that would happen before October.

The vehicles, Augustine said, are geo tagged.

“These three vehicles costed us $937,842.42. If you do the math, that is $312,614.16 (per vehicle). So, it’s not a cheap injection into TEMA, but it is one that is absolutely necessary.

They were retrofitted and outfitted to meet the needs of TEMA, I think that’s a very good price that we paid.”

With the upcoming hurricane season expected to be “potentially overactive,” Augustine reminded Tobagonians to be prepared.

“The best preparation is you preparing yourself.

“Yes, we are preparing the government agency, TEMA, to be ready to respond, but you have to be prepared yourself.

“You have to ensure to take care of your household. It’s hurricane season, so just as we are preparing TEMA, you should be having your important documents safe and having them in some plastic container that they won’t get wet.

“You should be stockpiling your tin foods. You should be ensuring that you have batteries for your torchlight or at least have a torchlight. You should have some bottled water stashed away so you’re not waiting until a hurricane or a storm is eminent in order to rush to the supermarket and stand in a long line to get prepared.

“Prepare from now. It is part of your responsibility to yourself and your family because it makes our job much more difficult when you are unprepared.”

Two of the vehicles, he said, will be assigned to CERT while TEMA will take control of the other.