Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 6th 2013 Contents DENYSE RENNE
Millions of dollars worth of con-
tracts awarded to several companies
under the stewardship of former
deputy chairman of the Airports
Authority (AATT), Kurt Ajodha, will
soon be ratified.
The T&T Guardian understands
the directive to approve the contracts,
as well as to start the tendering
process for other services, was given
by Transport Minister Chandresh
Sharma yesterday morning during a
meeting with AATT board members.
Sources say two of the contracts
yet to be ratified were for consultancy
services for the southwest perimeter
road at Piarco Airport and for repair-
ing and restoring granite tiles in the
duty-free area at the airport.
The consultancy contract was esti-
mated at over $1 million and was
awarded to a company, via the sole
selective process, at a board meeting
and approved on May 17. The tile-
restoration contract is worth
$1,212,205 and was approved at a
June 6 board meeting, also using the
sole selective tendering process.
The T&T Guardian understands
before the tenders were published,
Ajodha asked for a quantity surveyor
to be retained. This was a cause for
concern among board members.
When the tendering process
ended, sources said, there were sev-
eral companies whose bids were
lower than the surveyor's estimates
in all categories.
Sources say the board will meet
next week to ratify and award contracts.
On Monday, Sharma told the AATT
board to temporarily appoint Carlisle
Marks and attorney Carol Cuffy-Dowlat
to the posts of chairman and deputy chair-
The appointments, however, were
deemed illegal by the AATT's legal depart-
ment. The members were warned the two
new members' appointments had not
been made in accordance with the Airports
Authority Act and therefore any business
they carried out as part of the board would
be deemed illegal.
The meeting had been called to discuss
several outstanding matters, including
The current board members include
Marks, Duffy-Dowlath, Judith Baliram
Ramoutar, Rishi Mahadeo, Premchan
Sahadeo, Ruthven Goddard, Susan
Charles-Sylvester and Maria Gonsalves,
who is overseas.
Two weeks ago, Ajodha tendered his
resignation. Ajodha, whose academic qual-
ifications were queried by Diego Martin
North/East MP Colm Imbert during
debate in Parliament, received a stipend
of $7,000 a month for being on the board.
During his contribution, Imbert had
disclosed that Ajodha did not possess the
qualifications stated on his CV. AATT
sources said when he was seeking the
post, Ajodha had submitted his CV to the
board's committee and was recommended
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, July 6, 2013
Education Minister Dr Tim
Gopeesingh says he saw no reason
why he and two other Govern-
ment-appointed members of the
Privileges Committee needed to
recuse themselves from the recent
sittings involving Opposition
Leader Dr Keith Rowley.
He was commenting on Rowley's
complaint he had asked that
Gopeesingh, Transport Minister
Chandresh Sharma and Minister
of Housing, Land and Marine
Affairs Dr Roodal Moonilal recuse
themselves from the proceedings,
since they had spoken out against
him during the debate on the no
confidence motion against Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
"The Parliament elected mem-
bers of the Privileges Committee.
The Parliament elected us and he
wants us to recuse ourselves?"
Gopeesingh asked during a visit on
Thursday to the Grant Memorial
Presbyterian School, San Fernando,
where he met top SEA student,
"That is absurd. It is absurd for
members of the Privileges Com-
mittee, who have been nominated
by Parliament, to recuse them-
selves," he added.
Rowley made the statements
about the three Government mem-
bers on the committee at a press
conference held moments after the
Privileges Committee released its
report on the proceedings.
The report concluded the matter
was inconclusive and could go no
further but noted that Rowley was
Rowley, however, countered that
the refusal of the three to recuse
themselves from the proceedings
and the committee's refusal to
address issues he raised over his
ability to properly defend himself,
were at the heart of the problem.
Gopeesingh said members of the
committee were chosen by Parlia-
ment and Rowley himself would
have appointed members.
He added: "Where on earth that
occurs in any democratic parlia-
ment? The Privileges Committee
had been appointed by Parliament
itself which he himself had to
"So why does he want us to
recuse ourselves from it because
we made statements in Parliament
about the entire matter?"
Gopeesingh said he had sat on
the committee for almost ten years.
He added: "I believe I myself
must have been before the Privileges
Committee at some time. That is
the democracy of the situation.
"Mr Rowley was just evading
answering the questions and it was
very unfortunate that you can bring
something to Parliament and not
be able to defend it. That is totally
When asked if he did not think
his comments during debate in Par-
liament would not prevent him
from having an impartial view on
the matter, Gopeesingh said no.
"Then all members of Privileges
Committee cannot go into any
debate whatsoever. It means, then,
we cannot anticipate what is going
to happen. It means we cannot
debate any issue at all in parliament
because we are members of the
Privileges Committee," he said.
He added: "Parliament is to speak
and we are free to speak and this
is why we are not before the Priv-
ileges Committee but he is before
it, because the accusation is that
he wilfully misled the Parliament,
knowingly and wilfully misled the
Rowley's recusal request absurd
Sharma orders approval for $m contracts
Demonstrators walk around the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, during a peaceful protest march by
the labour movement through the streets of Port-of-Spain yesterday. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
The umbrellas came out and the flags went down as a heavy shower of rain
came down while demonstrators walked along the streets of Port-of-Spain
yesterday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
...as he meets with AATT board
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