Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 14th 2014 Contents news
September 14, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Two former People s National
Movement (PNM) housing minis-
ters have distanced themselves
from the now demolished $26 mil-
lion Las Alturas towers at Morvant.
Both Opposition Leader Dr Keith
Rowley and former PNM minister
Emily Dick-Forde, who for consec-
utive periods were responsible for
housing around the time of the
multi-million dollar housing project,
said they had nothing to do with it.
Neither can say when construction
of the now demolished structure
began or ended.
House Leader and current Hous-
ing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal
angered Rowley on Friday when he
spoke about questionable projects
and situations which he said
occurred under Rowley s tenure as
PNM housing minister.
He said the Las Alturas develop-
ment in Morvant rose from $65 mil-
lion to $90 million and two towers
valued at $26 million had to be
demolished since geo-technical work
had not been done, though Rowley
was a geologist.
Moonilal showed pictures of the
situation which angered Rowley, who
jumped up, stressing he had "nothing
to do with that!"
The Sunday Guardian obtained
copies of the board minutes from a
January 27, 2007, Housing Devel-
opment Corporation (HDC) meeting
which listed the project.
There was no similar information
on the project in the board minutes
from 2004 to 2006.
Rowley was the housing minister
from 2004 to November 2007. Dick-
Forde replaced him on November
According to the HDC board min-
utes, the towers project was handled
by China Jiangsu at a total cost of
$26,970,073.02 (exclusive of fees)
and at the time of the board meeting
the construction was almost com-
plete and carried a delivery date of
January 30, 2007.
Rowley, in an interview with the
Sunday Guardian yesterday, con-
firmed that the original structure
was completed under his watch, but
he denied any knowledge of the con-
struction of the portion that had to
"When I became minister of
housing, I met that project there and
almost complete. I defy anyone to
show my part in that construction
[of the demolished structure]. Yes,
I finished the two blocks and handed
out keys, but I was very surprised
when I heard there was another
tower because I knew the ground
was shifting. It was a surprise to
me," Rowley said.
"That tower was built after I left
office. The HDC board continued
the project. That tower was not built
when I was minister, and I was party
to no discussion," Rowley said.
"Unlike Dr (Roodal) Moonilal I do
not micro-manage. I do not know
what board-level decisions were
taken, and I was party to no discus-
sions," he said.
Rowley said under his watch, the
PNM delivered houses on a regular
basis, almost every two weeks and
questioned why the current Gov-
ernment had been "spending bil-
lions" on houses, yet was unable to
distribute the homes to citizens.
Dick-Forde: I inherited a mess
When Rowley demitted that office
in November 2007, Dick-Forde
stepped into his ministerial shoes.
However, in a subsequent tele-
phone interview yesterday, she too
denied any knowledge of the multi-
million dollar structure.
"I do not know anything at all
about that building," Dick-Forde
"I have no recollection of ever
approaching Cabinet for that proj-
ect," she said.
Dick-Forde said when she took
over the HDC from Rowley, she
inherited "a mess."
"A lot of things were lacking. Proj-
ects that were said to be completed
and delivered, I now had to start.
The HDC was in a mess, there were
thousands of projects unstarted all
over the place," she said.
Dick-Forde said it seemed that
Rowley had "chosen to defend him-
self" on the Las Alturas project.
"I am not falling into that trap
that Dr Rowley fell into. It is possible
the HDC did something the minister
was not aware of," she said.
However, Dick-Forde then added
that it was not possible for the HDC
to approve and begin construction
without ministerial say-so and Cab-
"And I can say that it was a long
time after I became Minister of
Housing that I had to take anything
to Cabinet for approval because I
was finishing construction rather
than starting new projects," she said.
Rowley also questioned the accu-
racy and veracity of the 2007 HDC
minutes that the Sunday Guardian
"Who sent you that? Why should
I be answering to some faceless per-
son in HDC who is anonymously
making accusations [against] me? If
they want to come out and say
something, then let them unveil
themselves," Rowley said.
On Friday, Moonilal produced a
large photograph of the cracked and
faded buildings which were con-
structed under the PNM adminis-
tration and were set to be demolished
in 2012. Recent photographs show
the buildings have been partially
---See Page A5
Members of the Diego Martin Footprints dance group perform during the limbo category of the Prime Minister's
Best Village Trophy Dance Competition final at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, on Friday night.
PHOTO: EDISON BOODOOSINGH
BEST VILLAGE LIMBO
Board minutes show Rowley was housing minister...
PNM ministers deny role
in $26m Las Alturas towers
Moonilal said during Rowley's
Housing Ministry tenure up to
2007, the Edinburgh Towers in
Chaguanas went from $50 million
to $150 million and were riddled
with issues, which he detailed. He
also said the ground under a
Debe project kept shifting in a
"$112 million mistake."
MORE HDC PROJECTS
Dr Keith Rowley
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