Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 15th 2013 Contents Taran Persad, right, of Presentation College Chaguanas, offers a token of appreciation to President
Anthony Carmona after the President hosted the 11 top SEA students for a luncheon at the Office of the
President, St Ann's on Friday. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
September 15, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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Labour Minister Errol Mc Leod says
364 people were retrenched in the first
quarter of 2013.
He was speaking during the budget
debate in Parliament on Friday night.
Admitting that the budget was not
perfect, Mc Leod said he intended to
adhere to the international standards
of the International Labour Organisation
by putting workers at the centre of
He said under the People s Partner-
ship, unemployment had decreased
despite reports of retrenchment.
"For the period January to May 2013,
we received notice of 364 persons being
retrenched. These persons because of
skills and expertise are not unemployed
for too long," Mc Leod explained.
He said the restaurant business
accounted for the most retrenchment.
"We had 252 being retrenched from
the hotel industry and 220 from the
manufacturing sector in 2012," Mc Leod
He commended the Minister of
Finance for placing jobs at the core of
T&T s agenda.
"For the second quarter of 2012 our
unemployment was 4.9 per cent, and
I have gone on record to say I am not
satisfied with the western classical
determination of full employment. My
position is if there is one person unem-
ployed the situation is not good
enough," he added.
Mc Leod said when the PP Govern-
ment took office in 2010, the unem-
ployment situation was 6.8 per cent.
"We brought it down to 5.8 by second
quarter of 2011 and by the second quar-
ter of 2012, it was 4.9 per cent," he
Roberts: T&T has seen four
consecutive periods of growth
Sports Minister Anil Roberts in his
contribution said the T&T economy
had experienced four consecutive peri-
ods of growth.
"When we came into this house the
PNM said we were heading for deval-
uation. They said we heading for the
precipice and we have fallen off the
slippery slope. When the PNM was in
power the Stabilisation and Heritage
Fund was $3 billion and foreign reserves
were at $9 billion. Now the Heritage
and Stabilisation Fund is US$ 5 billion
and our foreign exchange reserves have
climbed to $9.4 billion," he said. Roberts
also slammed Opposition Leader Dr
Keith Rowley for not having his facts
correct with regard to the T&T s eco-
nomic position. (RS)
Diego Martin West MP Colm
Imbert has filed a motion in Par-
liament calling on the Govern-
ment to terminate all existing
contracts with corruption-tainted
Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin.
His call came five months after
the company and 100 of its affil-
iates were banned from bidding
on contracts funded by the World
Imbert s motion was scheduled
for Friday s sitting of the House
of Representatives but was post-
poned as debate continues into the
2013-2014 fiscal budget.
In his motion, quoted from
Order Papers in the parliamentary
Web site, Imbert said the Urban
Development Corporation of T&T
(Udecott) on the recommendation
of the Canadian Commercial Cor-
poration (CCC), signed a contract
in February 2013 with SNC-Lavalin
to design a hospital in Penal.
"The CCC has also confirmed
that the design contract for this
hospital project was awarded by
Udecott to SNC-Lavalin, on the
recommendation of CCC, on a sole
selective basis without any com-
petitive tendering," Imbert said.
He noted that construction of
the hospital will cost taxpayers $1
Saying "SNC-Lavalin is present-
ly embroiled in allegations and
findings of irregular payments to
public officials, misconduct, cor-
ruption and bribery in projects in
a number of developing countries,"
Imbert called on the Government
to terminate all existing contracts.
"Government should also cease
and desist from entering into any
future contractual relationships
with SNC-Lavalin or any of its
affiliates," he added.
He also recommended that
"procurement process for the proj-
ect as well as future projects should
be subject to open and transparent
In a subsequent interview,
Imbert also questioned why the
due diligence review on SNC-
Lavalin was taking so long.
"I think they are playing games.
Somebody within the CCC is obvi-
ously compromised because why
else will they give a banned com-
pany the contract?" He added, "It
is well known that SNC has been
banned by the Canadian Interna-
tional Development Agency CIDA
and the World Bank."
Imbert noted, "It is very curious
that the T&T High Commissioner
to Canada Philip Buxo was a direc-
tor for SNC-Lavalin and as soon
as he was appointed to Canada,
SNC gets its contract. The whole
thing is very strange. I want to
know why the Government doesn t
terminate this agreement."
He added that the contract did
not provide any special rates to
"It doesn t appear that we are
getting any special deal. We are
getting it on commercial terms,
there are no concessionary rates,
no special price, and it is done
without competitive tendering so
there is no proper way of estab-
lishing value for money. It is a dis-
grace, and I wish they will get it
over with and terminate all
arrangements with that company,"
Moonilal: Govt will deal
with it when it arises
Contacted on his cell phone,
Moonilal said the Government will
deal with the motion when it aris-
"Quite a lot has already been
said about the SNC-Lavalin issue
but we are prepared to deal with
this motion in great detail when
it is brought to Parliament."
The minister, who is in charge
of Udecott, said a due diligence
review on the company was still
The report was initially expected
to be completed at the end of
August, but Moonilal said the CCC
had requested a further two weeks
to complete its review.
He admitted that the Govern-
ment had grave concerns about
SNC-Lavalin s track record and
However, he said once the due
diligence review is completed, the
Government will make a decision
Last month, president and CEO
of the CCC Marc Whittington
denied that the T&T Government
was not getting competitive rates
in the $2.2 million hospital design
contract with SNC-Lavalin.
He said the CCC was assessing
SNC s financial, managerial and
technical abilities as well as its
Corporate Social Responsibility
capabilities to determine whether
it is eligible for the contract. This
due diligence review is expected
to be completed by next week.
Imbert files motion in Parliament...
364 people laid off in 2013
Labour Minister Errol Mc Leod
LUNCH WITH THE PRESIDENT
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