Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 21st 2016 Contents A7
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Minister of Works and Transport Fitzgerald
Hinds yesterday accused the former People s
Partnership (PP) government of securing a
US$120 million loan to solve widespread
flooding in the capital city which was never
put to use.
Hinds said instead of executing a compre-
hensive flood mitigation plan for Port-of-Spain,
which the PP promised, they racked up a
"US$700,000 commitment fee on that loan."
While no work was undertaken, Hinds said,
the project execution unit appointed was paid
on a monthly basis.
Up to recently, Hinds said, the unit had been
Hinds was addressing members of the media
at a news conference at Saddle Hill Grounds,
Maraval, where he spoke about his ministry s
teaming up with the country s 14 municipal
corporations to desilt, degrass and clear water-
courses to prevent flooding at the start of the
Questioned on what were his ministry s plans
to reduce frequent flooding in the city, Hinds
criticised the PP for entering into a secured
Inter-American Development Bank loan of
US$120 million to deal with the problem, which
was never used.
"They sat on it like a hen on golden eggs.
They did absolutely nothing with it. Except, I
can tell you accurately today that the project
execution unit that was appointed to deal with
it began to be paid salaries on a monthly basis.
I can also tell you that Trinidad and Tobago
has spent thus far about US$700,000 in com-
mitment fees on that loan, not yet used."
Having visited the bank last week, Hinds
said his ministry was trying "to administer that
project now. We are engaged as we speak in
reactivating that project and to get it going."
The mitigation plan, Hinds said, was engi-
neered by WSP Global, formerly Genivar Inc,
which now has to be tweaked.
In addition, Hinds said, installation of water
pumps will also be put into the plan.
"And when that is done we would be ready,
subject to the administrative issues around the
loan to proceed with the work in Port-of-Spain.
I look forward to it with great relish and great
anticipation because these eyes too have seen
the horror, trauma, suffering and horrific appear-
ance of our capital city in the circumstance
that I have described them."
Asked when this will be unveiled, Hinds did
Hinds said whenever there is a heavy shower,
the water from the northern range would settle
in Port-of-Spain and when the sea level rises,
it creates a basin.
He said what contributes to the deluge was
unwanted items, which citizens dispose of in
"I am pleading with citizens to desist from
throwing unwanted items in water courses since
it can have a debilitating effect on marine and
human lives. Trinidad and Tobago, this is not
a joke. We have seen in India, Pakistan and all
over the world when the rains come and there
is excessive floodings, lives are at stake."
Next week, Hinds said, the Mamoral River
will be desilted and cleaned after six years of
"It would not surprise me in this country if
monies have been paid to clear that (river)
several times over."
With local government reform on its way,
Hinds said each corporation chairman would
be able to make their own laws with regards
"We have a problem in the nation with
enforcement to solve."
Hinds: PP sat on US$120m
loan to fight flooding
East Dry River
MAIN RIVERS TO
Jurors in the Vindra Naipaul-
Coolman murder trial were yes-
terday told of the alibis that the
accused men gave police after
being arrested for questioning
in relation to the crime.
High Court Judge Malcolm
Holdip revisited the issue as he
spent his third day summing up
the case to the 12-member jury
and two alternates, by analysing
transcripts of some of the
accused men s interviews with
Holdip dealt mainly with the
statements of Antonio Charles
and Marlon Trimmingham,
which were recorded by police
when they were first arrested
weeks after Naipaul-Coolman
was abducted in December 2006,
and several months later when
they were rearrested and charged
with the crime.
He noted that both Charles
and Trimmingham admitted to
knowing most of their co-
accused, who were their neigh-
bours, but both denied interact-
ing with the others during the
period Naipaul-Coolman was
alleged to have been killed.
Confronted by allegations that
they were involved in the former
Xtra Foods chief executive s mur-
der, both men denied any wrong-
doing and told investigators that
they only knew of her abduction
by reading about it in the news-
Holdip also stated that the
men claimed that they had spent
the time period with their fam-
ilies as it was the Christmas sea-
Holdip is expected to continue
analysing the rest of the accused
men s interviews during the next
hearing on Monday.
He is expected to complete his
summation in the two-year-old
trial next week and then the jury
will be allowed to deliberate over
the men s guilt or innocence.
Naipaul-Coolman was abduct-
ed from her Chaguanas home on
December 19, 2006.
A $122,000 ransom was paid
by her family but she was not
released and her body has never
Prosecutors contend that she
was held captive in a small red
brick house in Upper La Puer-
ta, Diego Martin, shared by three
of the accused men, before she
was killed and her body disposed
of.They are relying on their main
witness Keon Gloster, who was
allegedly present at the time of
the murder but did not partic-
Gloster claimed that he was
coerced by police into signing
statements implicating the
accused men, most of whom he
is related to.
Addressing the jury earlier this
week, Holdip advised the jury to
be cautious when considering
Gloster, who was deemed a hos-
tile witness by prosecutors.
Additionally prosecutors have
presented a roll of duct tape with
a drop of blood which was
allegedly found in the house and
was matched to Naipaul-Cool-
man through DNA testing; and
a gun, which was allegedly found
in one of the men s home, which
matched spent shells found on
the scene of the businesswoman s
Defence attorneys have con-
tended that both items were
planted by police.
Judge sums up evidence
Jurors hear co-accused gave alibis
A Ministry of Works excavator clears away the Maraval river on the Saddle Road, Maraval
yesterday. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
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