Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 2nd 2013 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, July 2, 2013
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Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal
says the T&T Government can veto
SNC-Lavalin s involvement in the design
and construction of the Penal hospital
and rehabilitation centre.
He was speaking in response to ques-
tions about SNC-Lavalin's involvement
in the design and proposed construction
of the $800 million facility at Clarke Road,
Those matters were raised in Parliament
on Friday by Opposition MP Colm Imbert,
who questioned T&T's High Commis-
sioner to Canada Phillip Buxo's involve-
ment in the selection process.
Buxo, however, has denied he had any
influence in discussions with respect to
the matter of SNC-Lavalin working in
T&T, even though he was an SNC-Lavalin
director before he took up his diplomatic
Asked to provide a copy of the due
diligence review that was done by the
Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC),
Moonilal responded, via text message,
saying: "We are talking to them now."
However, Laurent Morel-à-l'Huissier,
political counsellor for the High Com-
mission of Canada, said there was no
meeting with the T&T Government.
He said Canadians were celebrating
Canada Day yesterday and there was no
scheduled meeting with the T&T Gov-
ernment. Buxo also said he was not part
of any meeting.
Moonilal later explained that Udecott
was in touch with CCC. He did not elab-
orate on the nature of discussions.
However, in an earlier interview, Mooni-
lal said that Government could object to
SNC-Lavalin's involvement if the CCC
fails to justify its selection based on the
due diligence review.
He said the CCC would have to explain
on what grounds SNC-Lavalin were cho-
President and CEO of the CCC, Marc
Whittingham, in a statement, revealed
the T&T Government had signed a con-
tract in February with SNC-Lavalin to
design the Penal hospital, on the recom-
mendation of the CCC.
This was two months before the World
Bank banned SNC-Lavalin Inc for the
next ten years from bidding on projects
funded by the bank, citing company mis-
conduct by the company in Bangladesh
Whittingham said a framework agree-
ment was signed between the Govern-
ments of Canada and T&T on May 1,
2012, to promote co-operation in the
He explained that in early 2012, CCC
and Udecott decided to split the work
into two phases: The design of the hospital
and the actual construction and instal-
lation of medical equipment.
He said the design phase is almost
complete and Udecott and CCC were
now working on a contract for phase two.
Several people have voiced concerns
about why the hospital is being con-
structed in Penal.
Head of the Joint Consultative Council
for the Construction Industry (JCC), Afra
Raymond, and president of the Local
Content Chamber, Lennox Sirjusingh,
said government-to-government contracts
were detrimental to national interest and
created financial strains on the economy.
However, Moonilal and Works Minister
Dr Suruj Rambachan said the hospital
construction was in keeping with Gov-
ernment's decentralisation thrust.
Details of the scope and exact cost of
the project remains unclear.
CEO of Udecott Kurt Ramlal said finan-
cial negotiations were still being dis-
Khadijah Ameen remained
unfazed yesterday, dismissing
calls by St Joseph MP Herbert
Volney for her to be withdrawn
as the United National Con-
gress (UNC) candidate for the
Chaguanas West by-election.
Speaking with reporters after
presenting her preliminary
nomination papers at the Elec-
tions and Boundaries Commis-
sion's office, Chaguanas, said
she remained focused on her
"I know that there will be
people who will feel the need
to comment nationally.
"There are many people who
are political analysts and those
who are not such but they are
politicians in their own right
and of course we respect their
opinions but for me, as the
UNC candidate, my focus is on
the people," she said.
Over the weekend, Volney
reportedly said Ameen's selec-
tion was "tantamount to inso-
lence" and called on the UNC
to withdraw her candidacy.
However, yesterday, Ameen
said: "Everyone has their opin-
She said she represented all
young people who should be
encouraged to come forward for
She added: "Those who are
our leaders of yesteryear have
a role to play of advising and
"I think it is critical for young
people to be encouraged to
come forward as leaders and
certainly as a person within the
party in a decision-making role,
I will be encouraging other
young people to come on
On Friday, Prime Minister
announced during a mass rally
in Chaguanas that Ameen, the
Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Cor-
poration chairman, as the
UNC's choice to contest the July
She was selected ahead of
former Chaguanas West MP
and former national security
minister Jack Warner and Pun-
dit Satyanand Mahabir.
Ameen said she had served
ten years as a councillor in her
electoral district and "I intend
to work just as enthusiastically
with the people of Chaguanas
West. I have been warmly
embraced and I will continue
to work with them."
Yesterday, Ameen, flanked by
Minister of State in the Ministry
of Finance and the Economy,
Rudranath Indarsingh, Chagua-
nas Mayor Orlando Nagessar
and former Chaguanas West
MP Manohar Ramsaran, pre-
sented her preliminary nomi-
nation documents to returning
officer Everill Ross.
"I brought my documents for
Mr Ross to examine and advise
if there were any faults so that
when it was the actual nomi-
nation day, which was on the
July 8 everything would be in
order," she said.
Ameen said Ross examined
her documents and told her
what additional items she would
have to provide when the official
form was delivered, so that
there would be no errors or mis-
takes on nomination day.
She assured "the nomination
papers for the UNC candidate
is very much in order. On July
8 we will file the nominations
Yesterday, Ameen's former
challenger, Pundit Mahabir,
dressed in pundit attire, joined
her at the office of the returning
officer. He told reporters he was
there to support Ameen.
"We all are the UNC family.
This is my sister and I must
support her. We must get the
seat for the party. This is all we
are working for, nothing else
but supporting our future MP.
This is the person who is going
to lead Chaguanas West,"
Volney's call Roodal: Govt can veto
Penal hospital contract
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