Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 11th 2015 Contents A15
October 11, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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The Ministry of Agriculture,
Land and Marine Resources is
expected to launch an audit into
the Caroni Green Initiative (CGI),
as taxpayers money invested in
the project cannot be accounted
for.Further, there were a lot of dark
secrets surrounding the distribu-
tion of Caroni 1975 Ltd lands
under the People's Partnership
(PP) administration, said the min-
istry's Parliamentary Secretary
Avinash Singh on Thursday.
Just one month on the job,
Singh said he stumbled upon a
box at the ministry which had
been gathering dust for two years
containing "rebates" on subsidies
and incentives which were never
paid to farmers.
He estimated the refund at $18
"That is unacceptable. It just
goes to show the level of disre-
spect farmers faced by the last
administration. They were never
a priority," Singh said.
He said the CGI, which was
established in 2013 by the ministry
of food production to produce
locally grown food was the farm-
ers' biggest competitor.
"How could the ministry of
food production compete with
Singh said although $20 million
was allocated for the project there
was a high of level of wastage.
"A balance of that $20 million
is available. I believe an audit
would have to be undertaken to
find out what has taken place. I
have been told that sales of pro-
duce cannot be accounted for.
These are some of the issues that
have raised our curiosity."
In the coming weeks, Singh
said, the project would be exam-
Singh said they had also dis-
covered a contractor who was
allowed to occupy large acreages
of Caroni lands "without any lease
or documentation. There were a
lot of dark transactions that have
come to the light. The lands were
used for all sorts of things, includ-
ing establishing a batching plant."
Singh said Agriculture Minister
Clarence Rambharat was right to
call for an audit into the lands.
Singh said he was shocked to
unearth contracts that were
awarded without tendering
processes, while companies that
never existed or were not VAT
registered were retained to provide
goods and services.
Asked if contracts went out to
ghost businesses, Singh said, "I
am not sure if they were ghost
businesses, but I am sure there
were ghosts at those ministries
because a lot of money is missing
and a lot of things are not
accounted for. If it was ghosts
doing it then ghosts need to go
Singh said heads would roll
because the PP knew what they
did in the last five years.
"What we are seeing in all min-
istries is horrific...the level of cor-
ruption, wastage, mismanage-
ment, nepotism and cronyisms."
Audit into Caroni
...lots of dark transactions have come to light---Singh
Priority will be placed on schools
with faulty sewer systems says Edu-
cation Minister Anthony Garcia.
In a telephone interview, Garcia said
he had received several reports of
schools with faulty sewer systems since
the commencement of the new term
on September 8. Garcia said he would
be asking schools supervisors and the
Education Facilities Company Ltd
(EFCL) to compile reports on the sit-
Members of the PTA of the Preysal
Government Primary School staged a
silent demonstration on Friday morning
in a bid to get the relevant authorities
to fix the school's leaking sewer system.
Miranda Mohammed, the PTA pres-
ident, said pupils have not been to
classes since Wednesday. She said a
sewer line that leads from the old school
to a temporary system was leaking and
creating a terrible stench.
She said parents were also upset
because of the sporadic work taking
place at the construction site for a new
primary school. Mohammed said work
for the new school started on April 9,
2014, and the project was continuously
stopping and restarting. Mohammed
said she had heard complaints that
contractors were not being paid by
Mohammed said no one in authority
was contacting the PTA nor giving
them straight, positive answers.
Schools with sewer problems
Preysal Government PTA president Miranda Mohammed, right, and parents
demonstrate outside the Preysal Government School on Friday.
PHOTO: VINDRA GOPAUL-BOODAN
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