Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 24th 2014 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, November 24, 2014
Leader of the Movement for Social Justice David
Abdulah believes that Junior Works Minister Stacy
Roopnarine was pressured into apologising to her
boss Dr Suruj Rambachan because her accusations
had made the Government "look bad."
Abdulah s comments came a day after Roopnarine
admitted she was wrong about her accusations against
Rambachan that he was interfering in the construction
of the multi-million dollar Curepe Interchange.
Speaking at a press conference held at MSJ s head-
quarters in St Joseph Village yesterday, Abdulah said,
"There is no doubt in my mind that pressure was
applied and this is why the Junior Minister Roopnarine
had a change of heart."
He said, however, that the "very fact that a junior
minister could challenge a senior minister over serious
allegations of interference and corruptions is cause for
"This has put the Government in a bad light and
the Government knew they needed to patch this up.
This is why she came out and said she was wrong,"
Roopnarine had penned a letter to Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar on September 4, expressing
concerns that Rambachan had interfered in the bidding
process for the construction of the Curepe Interchange.
She said local contractor Lutchmeesingh was engaged
in the bidding process rather than Vinci Construction,
which built the Aranguez and Grand Bazaar Inter-
changes. This, she said, could have legal ramifications.
She later said she was ill-advised about the process.
Last week president of the Local Content Chamber
Lennox Sirjuesingh said Roopnarine s allegations under-
scored the need for the immediate passage of Public
"I don t feel comfortable with a minister calling in
a contractor and asking to cut down the cost of a
project. That is
"He added that it was questionable how a company
could cut back the cost of a contract by millions of
dollars upon request.
"Best practice is that in the event a project was
overpriced or underpriced, you re-tender," Sirjuesingh
said. Saying he admired Roopnarine for the position
she took, Sirjuesingh said, "This is the new breed of
politicians that we need. If Minister Roopnarine ends
up in the dog house now for raising these concerns,
then so be it."
He said the Public Procurement Bill was meant to
bring about transparency in the use of public money.
"We are hoping when the bill is passed and imple-
mented, we will not have interference in projects by
the line ministers," Sirjuesingh said.
Meanwhile, President of the Joint Consultative
Council for the Construction Industry Afra Raymond
said the bill will bring transparency in the award of
contracts. Saying procurement laws were needed now,
Raymond expressed satisfaction that the Public Pro-
curement and Disposal of Public Property (No. 2) Bill,
2014 was laid before the Lower House.
Saying this is an endorsement of the work undertaken
by the civil society groups and the Senate to date,
Raymond called for the bill to be passed expeditious-
"It is very much in the public interest that there be
no further delays in giving the nation the reformed
legislation that we so badly need," Raymond added.
In an exclusive Sunday Guardian story, Roopnarine
said after she wrote the letter she was advised on the
legal parameters that a contract can be awarded.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar also said in
Parliament that she had made enquiries into matter
but NIDCO chairman Dr Carsen Charles said he was
never contacted about issues involving Board inter-
ference in the Curepe Interchange contract.
SURUJ: MINISTRY'S WORK CONTINUES
The work of my ministry continues. That was the
comment issued by Works and Infrastructure Minister
Dr Surujrattan Rambachan following an apology to him
by the Minister of State in his ministry, Stacy
Rambachan said yesterday since the issue was made
public, he "placed all the facts in the public domain at
He said the Prime Minister had spoken and he had no
further comment to make on the matter.
Asked about his working relations with Roopnarine,
Rambachan said: "The business of the ministry
continues as usual."
The contract for the highway project is yet to be
The winning key drawn on Friday
21st November, 2014 on Crime Watch
If your key at the back of your
Friday's T&T Guardian has the number
163463, you now have until 5 pm
today, to come to the T&T Guardian
Port-of-Spain, at 22-24, St. Vincent
Street, with your copy of the T&T
Guardian newspaper (complete
newspaper) containing the winning
key at the back, and a photo
Once there, you can choose to take
the regular jackpot of $11,000 cash, or
you can pick one of three Christmas
stockings for a chance to double your
winnings and receive $22,000.
Also, tune in to Crime Watch
tonight from 6 pm, on CNC3, for the
Mega Monday's draw. If the number
drawn during Crime Watch matches
the number on your key at the back
of your Saturday, Sunday or Monday's
T&T Guardian Newspaper, then you
win the Mega Monday's jackpot.
The Lucky Key 'Pick & Win'
---Mega Mondays Draw
Members of the Moriah Old Time Wedding provide entertainment at the
opening of the 19th Biennial general meeting and conference of the Caribbean
Academy of Sciences (CAS) which took place at the Magdalena Grand Beach
Resort, Lowlands, Tobago on Friday. It was held in collaboration with the
Tobago House Assembly and The theme of this year's conference is
Harnessing Science and Technology to create Knowledge-based Economies and
preserve Caribbean Ecosystems.
OLD TIME WEDDING
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