Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 21st 2013 Contents A5
Saturday, September 21, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Let the debate on the appointment of for-
mer Independent senator Dr James Arm-
strong and attorney Roamar Achat-Saney
as members of the Police Service Commis-
sion (PSC) begin.
That s the position of leader of government
business in the House of Representatives,
Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, in the
wake of concerns expressed by former head
of the Public Service, Reginald Dumas, about
the qualifications of the two for the jobs.
Dumas said the Constitution says PSC
commissioners must be "qualified and expe-
rienced in the disciplines of law, finance,
sociology or management." He said while
Achat-Saney was an attorney, there are
already two lawyers on the PSC---Addison
Khan and Martin George. Chairman of the
PSC Professor Ramesh Deosaran is a soci-
Armstrong is a development planner, has
a first degree in environmental design, a mas-
ter s in urban and regional planning and a
PhD in developmental planning.
Dumas said none of the new nominees of
the President appear to be experts in finance
But Moonilal said the Government did not
see any problem with the President s nom-
"We will proceed. I have been in contact
with His Excellency and we believe that the
constitutional requirements have been met,"
Moonilal told the Guardian yesterday.
Questioned further, he said debate on the
matter will take place during the next sitting
of the House. No date has been announced
for that sitting, however.
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, in a
separate interview yesterday, said he had not
seen the CV of Armstrong "to assess the
scope and breath of experience and qualifi-
cations to determine whether he has met the
Ramlogan said, however, that he was aware
Armstrong had a "distinguished and enviable
record of public service that straddles several
areas and disciplines."
The AG said: "If there is ground for con-
cern, I have no doubt that His Excellency
can in fact revoke his nominations, as there
is no appointment until Parliament gives its
He said the matter was in the "twilight
zone between the Office of the President and
the Parliament approving the proposed nom-
Ramlogan said, however, that the President
was "normally quite meticulous in these mat-
But Dumas insisted yesterday that the "pri-
mary responsibility has to be borne by the
President, because it is he who put the names
finally to Parliament."
"The President should be more vigilant in
the execution of these matters," Dumas told
the Guardian, adding that only people skilled
and experienced in finance and management
should be nominated for the final two PSC
The High Court will next month hear an
application by members of the Highway Re-
route Movement to stop work on the disputed
Debe to Mon Desir segment of the Solomon
Hochoy Highway extension.
The matter came up for hearing before Jus-
tice James Aboud, at the Hall of Justice, Port-
of-Spain, but was deferred to October 18 to
allow the organisation and the State more
time to submit documents to the court.
A related lawsuit over the construction of
the $7 billion project is scheduled to be heard
before the same judge on October 28.
In an interview after the case was adjourned,
the group s leader environmentalist Dr Wayne
Kublalsingh said they would continue with
its protest action outside the Prime Minister s
office, in St Clair until the matters were decided
before the court.
"We will continue our vigil outside the
Office of the Prime Minister, because this
matter is just not about courts deciding things.
Justice Aboud cannot decide on this matter
ultimately. This is a matter between the people
and the Government," Kublalsingh said.
In its application, which was filed on
Wednesday, the group is seeking a conservatory
order stopping construction of the controversial
section of the highway. The group is also seek-
ing to amend its substantive case to tender
fresh evidence, including a report from a tech-
nical committee which examined the highway
Delivering preliminary submissions yester-
day, Russell Martineau, SC, who is heading
the State s legal team, questioned the timing
of the application, saying the group was given
several opportunities, during hearings of the
substantive case last year, to apply for the
injunction, but refused to do so.
In response, the group s attorney Senior
Counsel Fyard Hosein said that his clients had
not sought the injunction before because con-
struction work at Debe to Mon Desir did not
start until Tuesday.
"There was no need for it before, but the
dynamics has now changed," Hosein said.
He claimed when a report on the highway
was commissioned last year, his clients were
given an undertaking that construction work
would be put on hold until the determination
of the substantive lawsuit.
The report, which was prepared by a team
of 17 professionals led by former Independent
senator Dr James Armstrong, said construction
work should be stopped immediately to allow
further scientific assessments to take place.
Hosein said the Government paid almost
$700,000 for the report and his clients were
given a legitimate expectation that the Gov-
ernment would abide by its findings.
Martineau disputed this point.
"There was no promise. That is just ole
talk," he said.
He said work on the highway had begun
since last year and never stopped.
"Work is going on, so let it go on," he said.
Martineau said there were major macro-
economic concerns relating to the highway s
construction and the injunction would cost
the State significantly because of third-party
rights of contractors.
The State is also being represented Senior
Counsel Deborah Peake and attorneys Kelvin
Ramkisson, Gerald Ramdeen and Shastri
Roberts. Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, and
Rishi Dass are part of the group s legal team.
Trade, Industry and Invest-
ments Minister Vasant Bharath
says by December this year the
Port Authority will have the
capacity to scan some 200 con-
tainers per hour.
He said the Government
recently purchased the $25 million
scanner through a grant funded
by the government of China.
"We expect delivery and oper-
ation of the scanner by Christmas
2013," he told legislators.
Bharath was contributing to
yesterday s Senate debate, Tower
D, Waterfront Centre, Wrightson
Road, Port-of-Spain, on the 2014
national budget, which was pre-
sented earlier by Finance and the
Economy Minister Larry Howai.
He said the funds were avail-
able to the Government for more
than ten years but not accessed
by former governments.
Bharath said the Government
was about establish seven indus-
trial parks at central and south
Trinidad. He said the industrial
parks are to be "rolled out by
He said there were also plans
to establish dry docking facilities
at Sea Lots. He said the project
was being undertaken with
Trinidad Dry Dock Company Ltd.
He said China Harbour was con-
ducting a feasibility study for the
project and the report will be
available at the end of this month.
Bharath also said the Solid
Waste Management Company
Ltd was looking at a joint venture
and a private sector company for
the disposal of all waste. He did
not name the joint venture com-
pany but said the project related
to the removal of waste at the
Beetham, Forres Park and Gua-
napo landfill sites. He said the
lands were expected to be
returned to the Government after
The minister also revealed that
the former Business Development
Company approved more than
878 loans over its ten-year exis-
tence but only 157 were repaid.
He the total value of the loans
was $58.8 million and only $2.18
million was recovered.
Bharath: Port to get $25m scanner by Christmas
Govt going ahead
with new PSC picks
The king in
begging to be
freed, in the
injunction to be
heard October 18
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