Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 19th 2013 Contents Workers complete the
job on Block 2 A which
Services Ltd has been
contracted to develop.
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Monday, August 19, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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FOLLOW THE LEADER
Cor. Queen & Henry Sts., P.O.S.
Tel: 625-2904 / Fax: 623-2313 0815112
AND A WHOLE LOT MORE
CONTINUES FROM PAGE A6
"From time to time, under the con-
tract, we asked these questions of the
employer, whether they have the fund-
ing for the job and to date they are
unable to really answer so we are just
Sookram said the company had taken
out loans to finance the project, but
because the non payment by the EMBD
they are being pressured by their fin-
A letter obtained by the T&T
Guardian, dated December 19, 2012,
showed that former EMBD chief exec-
utive officer Seebalack Singh wrote to
Republic Bank Limited s supervisor
Kamalaya Hoyte clarifying that Namal-
co was awarded a contract worth $76.5
million for Petit Morne II.
It also stated that the project had
been extended to include Petit Morne
"No Invoices have been paid on this
project to date," the letter stated.
In another letter dated October 2,
2012, to BBFL Civil Limited, Singh
requested that Namalco and LCB Con-
tractors continue to work at full capacity
as they attempted to honour payments.
"We also request that the contractors
continue to work at full capacity and
not make any claim as stated in their
letters dated 8th August, 3rd and 28th
September, 2012," he said.
"We have always met our commit-
ments in the past and would prefer a
relationship such that the contractors
not use every opportunity to make
claims against the client."
However, Sookram said with its
financing incurring interest charges,
the replacement of unsuitable material
at the site meant Namalco had also
incurred a debt.
Worker being thrown on the
More than 250 workers at Namalco
were thrown onto the breadline as a
result of the non-payment and Sookram
said soon they will be forced to retrench
more workers as funds are running low.
"We estimate that over 200 people
so far have been laid off as a result of
the slow work or suspended work," he
"Every month we have to make an
assessment and at the end of each
month we continue to downsize. Pretty
soon we estimate we will be down to
a very minimal staff if the situation
does not improve."
Lots completed but distribution
Sookram added that Namalco had
already completed 149 lots for the relo-
cation of residents displaced by the
highway and that they were ready to
hand over the lands to the EMBD.
He said water and sewage fixtures
were already in place and it was only
for T&TEC and WASA to make the
"Everything contractually on our part
is completed, tested and approved and
it is ready for hand over, all that is out-
standing is the public utilities," he said.
"As early as in the morning, you can
start to relocate the residents here, 149,
immediately, right away."
He, however, questioned why T&TEC
ommitted Phase II A which is
completed, but installed electrical
fixture at Phase IIIA where work
has only reached 40 per cent.
Project finance frozen as Govt
probes $600,000 a lot claim
Moonilal said contractors will
be paid soon, but in small amounts
as their claims are being verified.
"What we have done is we have
frozen the project...We are paying
contractors small amounts as we
review the internal system and as
we validate and verify claims by
contractors," he said.
"We have a consultant at this
time validating claims by contrac-
tors. It was this same problem I
had face at Udecott when I came
"In our books, we cannot under-
stand a lot of land being developed
for over $600,000 so that we are
working with contractors now to
verify their claims."
According to Nidco, residents
will be entitled to purchase a 5,000
square-foot plot at a highly sub-
sidised price of $50,000.
"I have now gone to Cabinet
and Cabinet has approved some
funding for all the contractors at
that site and all the contractors
there can expect in a few days
some payment but certainly not
in the vicinity that they have asked
for," Moonilal said.
"They claim over $300 million
which we are seeking to verify, but
we will pay to contractors about
$70 million to $80 million.
"All contractors are receiving
monies and payments but in
smaller sums than they would like."
"We have paid off, in the last
eight months or so, $250 million.
That includes about six large con-
tractors and about 50 small con-
tractors. In fact all the small con-
tractors have been paid off. The
problem is with the large contrac-
tors. We are verifying their claims."
Botched work causing in-
On Wednesday, an expert at the
site told the Guardian that work
on Phase IIIA being done by LCB
was 40 per cent completed and
that all the work done thus far has
to be verified by BBFL to ensure
compliance with the construction
However, another expert there
accused some contractors of cam-
ouflaging the development to give
the impression that work is at a
more advanced state than it really
"The roads still have a long way
to go so if they said two months,
I think they have at least four
months into six months."
He added that no geotechnical
surveys were done on the site by
the EMBD to ascertain whether
the land was suitable for housing.
Also, he said the EMBD s initial
survey of the land at the tendering
stage was "busted" meaning that
there were flaws in the initial
As a result, works are being
altered. A multi-million dollar dual
carriageway road that has already
been constructed has been can-
celled, he claimed.
Contacted for comment, LCB s
managing direction Jaleel Baksh
denied the claim but said he pref-
ered not to comment as his com-
pany was focused only on the job
Moonilal said the quanity sur-
veyor and independent consultant
were looking into the allegations.
He summed up the allegations
as a result of a competitive envi-
ronment, saying that both con-
tractors at the site were former
friends, now engaged in a civil war.
"Always with some contractors,
you know it is a competitive envi-
ronment and if one contractor is
paid a penny more than the other
it will lead to allegations and
claims, but it is being handled by
an independent consultant," he
"There is a contractor feud
between LCB and Namalco. There
is a civil war at the site between
who were friends before. They
were bosoms buddies and they
have an issue and that has spilled
over into the press so my comment
is a contractor civil war has spilled
over into the press.
"From friends who were bosom
buddies, we have asked their par-
ents to intervene. I am talking to
their fathers to intervene because
they have been best friends for like
25 years and then they broke up
and that led to allegations and
Moonilal was hopeful that the
contractors fathers will put an end
to the dispute.
Contacted for comment, EMBD
CEO Kamal Saint said it was com-
pany policy that all questions be
directed to their corporate com-
munications manager Sunita
However, when contact on
Thursday, an assistant said she
was out of the office. When con-
tacted again on Friday, an assistant
said she was in a meeting. Despite
leaving contact information, no
call was returned.
'250 workers at Namalco were thrown onto the breadline'
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