Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 23rd 2014 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 22ND DECEMBER, 2014
Oropouche West MP Stacy Roopnarine
has admitted to facing challenges ever since
she e-mailed Prime Minister Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar about questionable tendering
procedures involving the Curepe Inter-
However, despite the mounting pressure
Roopnarine said she had no regrets about
raising the issue.
Speaking to reporters after opening a new
$300,000 play park at Antilles Trace recre-
ation ground, San Francique, yesterday,
Roopnarine admitted that she faced daily
Asked whether it was true she was now
in the political dog house because of her
actions, Roopnarine said:
"Life is full of challenges and I believe
that every day poses a different challenge
but with the grace of God and support from
my family, friends and activists, I have been
able to overcome challenges."
Asked whether she had regrets over writ-
ing the Prime Minister on the issue, Roop-
narine said: "Life is not about regrets, it is
about overcoming challenges and moving
"I have already done that. I believe that
in 2015 people will judge me by what I have
done in my constituency."
Asked whether she planned to recontest
the Oropouche West seat, Roopnarine said:
"Nominations have not yet been filed and
when that happens screening will begin. I
remain loyal to the Prime Minister and to
the ideals of the UNC."
On September 4, Roopnarine wrote an
e-mail to Persad-Bissessar raising concerns
that her boss, Works Minister Dr Suruj Ram-
bachan, was inappropriately interfering in
the tendering process for the project.
Roopnarine noted that Vinci Construction
was the first-ranked bidder for the project
with a bid of $442 million.
However, she alleged Rambachan went to
the National Infrastructure Development
Company Limited (Nidco) board and said
the original Cabinet approved budget of $308
million should be used as the Government
did not have $442 million to pay Vinci.
Roopnarine said she believed the board
was pressured to award the contract to anoth-
er company, Lutchmeesingh Transport Con-
tractors Ltd, because of the lack of funds.
Persad-Bissessar later said in Parliament
Roopnarine was misinformed. She said
enquiries were done and the first-ranked
bidder, which was the highest bidder, had
tendered at over $100 million more than the
She said the Cabinet approved figure for
the project was $308 million and the first-
ranked bid was "way over that figure by
almost over $100 million." She said nego-
tiations were still ongoing with the second
Roopnarine subsequently apologised for
sending the letter to Persad-Bissessar, saying
she had acted hastily and may have been
wrong in her accusations.
"Subsequent to the writing of that e-mail,
I have had the benefit of being advised on
the legal parameters within which the award
considerations can be made and what eval-
uations were being conducted on the par-
"At the time, I felt my own concerns were
best addressed directly to the Prime Minister
since I wanted an independent opinion on
the matter," Roopnarine told the Sunday
Guardian last month.
She said having had the "benefit" of that
legal advice, she was better informed of the
process under which Nidco awarded its con-
tracts and conducted its negotiations.
"I am satisfied that there was no com-
promise on the manner in which this was
achieved. I maintain my independence of
opinion and right to raise any matter of con-
cern to me as a minister with the leader of
the Government," Roopnarine said.
However, there was speculation that Roop-
narine was pressured to make the statement.
Contacted on his cellphone yesterday,
Rambachan said he had already commented
on this matter and did not have anything
further to say on the issue.
Stacy admits challenges within UNC
I'm coping YVONNE WEBB
Albert Quashie s worse nightmare was
realised yesterday when the remains of his
son, Arnold, who went missing 18-months
ago, was found buried in a makeshift grave
at Parrylands, Point Fortin.
The confession of one of three suspects
led police to the grave near a river in the
Quashie, who spent the last year-and-a-
half praying for the return of his son, dead
or alive, said yesterday he was secretly hoping
the outcome would have been positive.
"I am glad I have closure, but I realise that
I have to face the reality and that pain all
over again. Now I will be able to sleep again,
knowing I will be able to put my son to rest
instead of wondering if he is out there dead
or alive," the senior Quashie told the T&T
Arnold, 29, a mechanic with the Vehicle
Maintenance Company (VMCOTT), disap-
peared in July 2013. Several leads were fol-
lowed and people questioned but it was only
last Friday that two men and a woman were
detained by the police.
During an interview, one of the men con-
fessed to the murder and led police yesterday
to the grave.
One month after his disappearance,
Quashie had said he felt his son was killed
and dumped in one of the oilfields where
his car was found. He sought the help of
state-owned Petrotrin to search their fields
at that time.
He also said then that one of the leads
the police was investigating was that his
son s death was a "hit" ordered by someone
in prison because of a woman.
Quashie, who accompanied the police to
the gravesite yesterday, said the police did
not recover the entire skeleton.
"What happened is that they buried him
near a river and it seems as though when
the water was running, it took some of the
body parts," he said.
Police said DNA tests would be conducted
on the remains.
The grieving father thanked all the police
involved in the investigations.
He added: "Even though it took a long
time, they had been constantly working on
the case and I want to commend all of the
officers for doing a good job.
"I am glad they got the murderers off the
street. I have lost my son but once police
get a murderer off the streets other people s
children will be safe."
He also thanked Petrotrin, saying the com-
pany had cleared several of its dams to assist
in the search for his son s body.
Driver found 18
in oilfield grave
Oropouche West MP Stacy Roopnarine holds the hand of Simran Sundar as she enjoys a
ride on the slide at the opening of the new play park at Antilles Trace recreation ground,
San Francique, yesterday. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
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