Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 9th 2013 Contents A5
June 9, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Discrepancies have been discov-
ered in the award of consultancy
contracts for the design of four
packing houses by the National
Agricultural Marketing and Devel-
opment Corporation (Namdevco).
This is the finding of an inde-
pendent committee set up by the
Ministry of Food Production in May.
The contracts, totalling approxi-
mately $3.5 million, were awarded
without board approval in January
The packing houses are among
five to be built at Wallerfield, Brick-
field, La Gloria, Cushe and Brechin
Castle, Couva, at an estimated cost
of $8 million to $10 million each.
Last Thursday Food Production
Minister Devant Maharaj and Local
Government and Works Minister
Suruj Rambachan turned the sod for
the construction of the packing
house at Brickfield.
At present construction is under
way on the packing house facility at
Brechin Castle, Couva.
The contracts involve project
management services for the design
of the packing house facilities and
are valued at 10 per cent of the cost
However, in April the board dis-
covered that all four contracts had
been awarded without the necessary
approval. At an emergency meeting
on April 16, the board decided to
suspend CEO Krishna Ramrattan
pending the investigation.
As CEO, Ramrattan has a spend-
ing limit of $50,000.
The committee found that Ram-
rattan did not act on his own but
was facilitated by two other senior
officials. However, it said, Ramrattan
was aware of all decisions surround-
ing the contracts.
And while Ramrattan indicated
that he was not part of the procure-
ment procedure, the committee said
he admitted to being part of the ten-
ders committee of the board, which
is part of the process.
The report, which was obtained
by the T&T Guardian, said, "It
appears from documents that at all
times the CEO was aware of the
practices taking place in attempting
to move the packing house project
According to the committee, com-
petitive bidding should have been
used to invite interested companies
to tender for the consultancy phase
of the project, and not standard pro-
The committee frowned upon this,
saying, "Engagement of consultants
for preliminary discussions which
included such activities as receipts
of a design brief and preparation of
schedules is not part of the normal
Referring to the letters given to
the consultants, titled "Assignment
of project management services,"
the committee went on, "It is not
part of the procurement procedure
in that the form and the content of
the letters are ambiguous."
The letters, the committee said,
could be construed by some as con-
As to how consultants were
assigned to particular sites, that
remained a mystery to the commit-
tee, as investigations revealed that
"no clear assessment appears to have
The committee concluded that
the failure to comply with proper
procurement procedures might result
in litigation if Namdevco did not
pursue the projects with the same
Ramrattan, contacted on Thurs-
day, said, "I have no comment to
Maharaj shocked by findings
Commenting on the report on
Thursday, line minister Devant
Maharaj said he was "shocked" by
"It was following a report in the
T&T Guardian relating to question-
able operations at Namdevco that I
asked the chairman to do an internal
review of the award of contracts for
the last two years," he said.
"I got a number of disturbing
reports concerning inconsistencies
at Namdevco and a committee was
set up to investigate the reports high-
"What was discovered was that
several contracts were given out
without board approval and as such
I have now requested the board to
take action to deal with the breach
with the procurement procedures.
"It appears certain elements in
management were doing as they
wished without the board being
aware of those activities."
The Ministry of Finance is expect-
ed to do an audit at Namdevco in
the upcoming weeks, the minister
Acting deputy permanent
secretary Stephanie Elder-
Senior legal adviser Natasha
manager Omar Mohammed
Engineer Rodney Ramkeesoon
RHONDA KRYSTAL RAMBALLY
The National Alliance for Reconstruc-
tion (NAR) is back in the political land-
Established in 1986, the NAR won the
general election that year with 33 of the
Its political leader Dr Carson Charles
yesterday told scores of supporters at the
St John Ambulance & Brigade Hall, Wright-
son Road, Port-of-Spain that the party
was here to rebuild.
He said, "For all those who lack voice,
the NAR is willing and anxious to help you
find your voice, to help you find your voice
so that you can be heard."
Charles was a former works minister
who served as leader from 1992 until 1993.
At a national special conference yester-
day, Charles said, "I want you to go out
in the communities every day and every
night and spread the word and say that
the National Alliance for Reconstruction
is back. We are back.
"And we are back because we are needed
and I dare anyone to show me otherwise."
Charles said the NAR was not about
trampling on anyone s turf but will speak
for all those who felt their voices were not
He said the party will demonstrate to
those in authority that there is still hope.
"I am probably the last of the original
NARites from the NAR government still
standing because my colleagues as I have
said, by and large, have retired."
He said it was his duty and privilege to
lead the NAR at a time when a call can be
made to the next generation to come for-
ward and take charge of the party and the
"You are here to rebuild this party, to
re-mobilise it, to start again, to do now
what we have not finished.
"We have unfinished business," he said.
Charles is president of the National Infra-
structure Development Company. He said
he does not see any conflict with his port-
folio at Nidco since the PP was fully aware
he was head of that party when he was
appointed. Even as Nidco s president, he
said, "I continued to do my job as political
leader of the NAR."
Charles said, "We are stepping up to do
what we can and the PP should not have
any difficulties with that."
Report on packing houses:
No approval for contracts
National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) political leader Dr Carson Charles right greets Maraval
residents Vaurila Fournillier left, and Mavis Sylvester before the start of NAR's national special
conference held yesterday at the St John's Ambulance Brigade Hall, Wrighston Road, Port-of-Spain.
PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
An NAR supporter proudly wears his
party's jersey at the national special
conference at the St. John's ambulance
brigade hall, Wrighston Road, Port-of -
Spain yesterday. PHOTO:NICOLE DRAYTON
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