Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 28th 2013 Contents A5
Saturday, September 28, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
No contract has been issued for
the repairs of any police station
in T&T to any gang leader, gang
member or any person with a
criminal background, acting
Commissioner of Police Stephen
Williams said yesterday.
He said all the police projects
involving repairs to police stations
have been given out to reputable
Williams, however, noted that
there has been an award for the
construction/refurbishment of a
building for a police post at a hous-
ing project which has nothing to
do with the office of the commis-
Williams spoke about the issue
after statements in the Senate on
Wednesday night by PNM Senate
leader Penny Beckles, who said
gang members get contracts for
work and "as we speak, one gang
member has a contract to repair
a police station."
Beckles called on National Secu-
rity Minister Gary Griffith to probe
Following Beckles statement,
Griffith, who has expressed con-
cerns about state contracts issued
to gang members, said such indi-
viduals are now on a watch list
and will be "blacklisted."
Responding to Beckles state-
ments yesterday, Williams said: "I
wish to state that the Commis-
sioner of Police is responsible for
repairs to all police stations and
the issuing of contracts for repairs
is done under the authority of the
"There has been no contract
issued for the repairs to any police
station in T&T which would have
been given out to any gang leader,
any gang members or any person
with a criminal background," he
"It has been unfair to the office
of the commissioner for a story to
be published which clearly points
to the commissioner being respon-
sible for giving out a contract to
a gang member.
"I want to state that in the pub-
lic domain is the issue of the con-
struction or refurbishment of a
building for a police post on Dun-
can Street. That project has noth-
ing to do with the office of the
Commissioner of Police.
"That is a project undertaken
by the HDC. I don t know who is
the contractor on that project, but
what I know is all the police proj-
ects involving repairs to police sta-
tions have been given out to rep-
Contacted yesterday, HDC CEO
Jearlean John said the HDC was
asked to remodel a police post,
which had been done. She said
meetings were held with and
attended by DCP Mervyn Richard-
son and his team and the Police
Association would have also given
input which was taken on board.
"But no gang member or gang
leader would have been given any
contract from the HDC," John
Griffith yesterday reiterated that
he will be "plugging any artery"
via which any state contracts may
find its way into gang members
People s National Movement (PNM)
MP Colm Imbert says he experienced
Canadian "pressure" for a meeting
when it was revealed that he was
bringing a motion to Parliament call-
ing for the Government to terminate
all existing contracts with SNC-
Lavalin for the Penal hospital proj-
Speaking in Parliament on the motion
yesterday, Imbert said he d received
requests to meet with the Canadian
Commercial Corporation, which rec-
ommended SNC-Lavalin for the proj-
ect. He said he received e-mailed
requests but didn t meet with the par-
Imbert said the "people pushing"
for the project were "very experienced
and are no pushovers."
He then read from the Montreal
Gazette of July 3, 1987, which said the
office of former solicitor general Gerard
Latulippe had broken government rules
the year before by not reporting a con-
tract worth about $73,000 awarded to
a Montreal consulting firm owned by
friends of Latulippe and lawyers linked
to his former law firm.
Imbert said: "I say this because the
Housing Minister needs to know he s
dealing with seasoned practitioners.
The current Canadian High Commis-
sioner was the solicitor general of Mon-
treal. He resigned in 1987."
Imbert also said in the weeks before
Latulippe quit, the Gazette investigated
his department and confirmed Lat-
ulippe had awarded a contract to the
Montreal law firm of Denis et Comtois,
which in turn farmed out part of the
contract to Latulippe s girlfriend, Diane
Fortier, a Montreal lawyer who worked
for Latulippe s former law firm until
she was fired.
He also read that Latulippe s office
awarded three contracts worth a total
of $83,000 to Premar. Two of the con-
tracts were awarded directly by the
minister (Latulippe), while the third
was awarded after Latulippe told his
aides to invite Premar to submit a bid.
Imbert also said only one was ever
recorded in spending commitments.
He said before entering politics, Lat-
ulippe signed a severance agreement
with McDougal Caron under which he
was to receive a percentage of fees paid
by his former clients in return for help-
ing the firm retain the clients.
Imbert told MPs: "So you re not deal-
ing with any pushover here, Mr Min-
ister, you re dealing with someone who
was a solicitor general of Quebec and
who had to resign due to allegations
of conflict of interest and improper
practices. He has been in the Canadian
politics for a long time.
"I thought I d bring this to the atten-
tion of the members of this House.
When I read this man s history, I
realised he had a controversial history.
I understood why I was being sent all
these documents telling me how won-
derful SNC-Lavalin is."
Imbert urged the Government to
examine the arrangements with the
Canadian Commercial Corporation,
which he said is the problem and which
the Canadian government had desig-
nated as its agent.
"The framework agreement is the
problem," Imbert added, saying the
CCC doesn t follow procedure.
"We can t do business with a com-
pany that doesn t follow
procedure...why didn t CCC invite com-
Imbert said "even as bad as this gov-
ernment is," he didn t think projects
were organised by two or three men
sitting in a room and deciding what
would be done.
Imbert said the World Bank s blacklist
of corrupt companies issued on Sep-
tember 18 indicated that of the 600
companies, 117 are Canadian and 115
are SNC-Lavalin subsidiaries. He said
the conglomerate was banned in more
than 20 countries.
Responding to Imbert during the
debate, Housing Minister Roodal
Moonilal confirmed that the Govern-
ment would be saying goodbye to SNC-
Lavalin. He said the matter was dis-
cussed in Cabinet on Thursday. (GA)
No contract given
to any gang leader
CoP on police station repairs:
Imbert: I faced pressure
for SNC-Lavalin stand
Leader of Government Business in the Lower House, Housing Minister Roodal
Moonilal, left, Opposition Whip Marlene McDonald and Diego Martin North/East
MP Colm Imbert chat after the sitting of Parliament yesterday.
PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
President Anthony Car-
mona yesterday made a sur-
prise visit to the Cunupia
home of the family of terrorist
victim Ravindra Ramrattan.
He is also expected to attend
the funeral, which is tentatively
set for next Tuesday, barring
any delay in bringing the body
Moved by the tragedy which
led to the killing of this brilliant
young man in Kenya, Carmona,
who has known the family for
more than 20 years, turned up
at their doorstep shortly after
He spent close to two hours
speaking to Ravindra s parents,
Bisnath and Parbatie Ramrat-
tan, their children and other
relatives, telling them they were
in his prayers and encouraging
them to be strong and trust
He reportedly told the family
he wanted to visit them before
Ravi s body was flown home,
because he knew it would be a
terrible time for them after-
wards. He is also said to have
told the family s pundit, who
was at the home preparing for
the funeral, that he was count-
ing on him to give the Ram-
rattans spiritual strength and
Parbatie Ramrattan con-
firmed the President s visit yes-
"I knew he would come," she
"I expected him to pay us a
visit, not because he is Pres-
ident, but because I have
known him for 33 years and I
was looking forward to him
"The mere thought of him
coming caused me to break
She said that the President s
humility and kindness were like
that of her late son.
"His humility is like my
son s. This is the kind of people
we need in this world, humble,
She described her son s death
as a national tragedy.
Asked how she and her fam-
ily felt about Carmona s visit,
Mrs Ramrattan replied: "The
President is a very, very caring
person, so it s all in order.
Almost like he is expected to
visit people who have trouble.
"I know he cares a lot, that
is why he came," she said.
"He spent a good while with
us and he was very sad and
sympathised with us."
She said the death of her son
at the hands of terrorists during
a three-day siege and hostage
situation at the Westgate Mall
in Nairobi, which left over 160
dead, has touched the entire
nation, including Carmona.
"That is why as President of
T&T he decided to visit,
because it is a national issue.
It is also the kindness of the
Although they did not know
each other, Ravindra and Car-
mona were Presentation Col-
lege brothers. Ravindra attend-
ed the Presentation College in
Chaguanas, while Carmona
attended the one in San Fer-
Ravindra, 30, winner of an
island scholarship and the Pres-
ident s Medal, was working in
Kenya while doing research
towards his doctorate in eco-
nomics. He had gone to the
mall with friends last Saturday,
when the terrorists launched
their deadly attack.
His mother said the body is
expected to arrive today and
will be collected by a funeral
home to prepare for Ravindra s
final farewell under Hindu rites.
Pres in surprise visit to slain scholar's family
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