Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 28th 2013 Contents A13
Saturday, September 28, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Canadian economist Patricia
Adams has lauded the T&T Gov-
ernment for deciding not to let the
corruption-tainted Canadian con-
glomerate SNC-Lavalin build the
$1 billion Penal hospital.
In a blog post published in the
Huffington Post on Wednesday,
Adams, who is also the executive
director of Probe International, quot-
ed the T&T Guardian and expressed
satisfaction with the decision to ter-
minate all ties with SNC-Lavalin,
saying, "T&T lawmakers had the
good sense to see that SNC-Lavalin
did not pass the test of confidence."
Probe International is an inde-
pendent environmental advocacy
group that fights to stop ill-conceived
aid, trade projects, and foreign
investments. The organisation, based
in Toronto, Canada, also works to
give citizens the tools they need to
stop these projects---the rule of law,
democratic processes, and honest,
Asking why the Canadian gov-
ernment was still promoting SNC-
Lavalin abroad despite its ongoing
corruption issues, Adams said:
"Secret, sole-sourced, subsidised
deals arranged by the Canadian gov-
ernment for any company can t help
but create an environment in which
bribery, corruption and conspiracy
to defraud taxpayers and ratepayers
It was the Guardian which first
highlighted exclusively, the $2.2 mil-
lion contract given to SNC-Lavalin
to design the hospital at Clarke Road,
Penal. On May 1, 2012, Udecott
signed a framework agreement with
the Canadian Government allowing
SNC-Lavalin Inc to design the hos-
pital. The second phase of the project
was to construct the hospital, while
the third phase was to outfit the
hospital with furniture and equip-
The CCC, a Crown corporation
of the Canadian government that
helps Canadian companies maximise
export opportunities, particularly
with government markets, was
responsible for the selection of SNC-
The Guardian has been following
the story since June in its quest to
find out how and why SNC-Lavalin
Several top company executives
have been charged with bribery,
fraud, money laundering, bid-rigging
and corruption in other countries.
Housing Minister Dr Roodal
Moonilal later explained that under
arrangement with Canada, the CCC
was given the opportunity to select
But Adams said this type of
arrangement breeds corruption and
the Canadian government should
take note of the decision of T&T.
"SNC-Lavalin s corrupt ways
recently led the World Bank to slap
a ten-year ban on the company and
more than 100 of its affiliates. The
Trinidadians have good reason for
not wanting to deal with SNC-
Lavalin. The company is being inves-
tigated for bribery and corruption
scandals in half a dozen countries,"
Adams pointed out.
Saying the SNC-Lavalin Penal
Hospital deal "could not pass the
smell test," Adams said it was
"untendered, secret, and guaranteed
by Canadian taxpayers."
The Movement for
Social Justice (MSJ) has
complained about being
snubbed by the T&T
In a news conference at
the Communication Work-
ers Union Hall, Henry
Street, Port-of-Spain, on
Thursday, MSJ political
leader David Abdulah
said the criteria parties
needed to meet in order
to take part in the national debate suggested that
only parties that were "well-financed" ought to be
eligible for debate.
The criteria Abdulah referred to stated that each
party participating in the debate needed to have can-
didates nominated for 75 per cent of the 14 corpo-
rations. The MSJ is contesting 50 per cent of the
corporations, according to Abdulah.
He noted that campaigning for local government
elections cost millions of dollars and the MSJ did
not have financiers like other parties.
Abdulah said the MSJ met with the Debates Com-
mission in April and had requested that the criteria
He said they had promised to review the request.
However, he said, he had recently seen an article
which said only three parties had confirmed partic-
ipation and the MSJ had not.
The three parties to confirm participation were
the People s National Movement (PNM), the People s
Partnership---a coalition of the United National Con-
gress, the Congress of the People, National Joint
Action Committee and the Tobago Organisation of
the People---and the newly formed Independent Lib-
eral Party (ILP).
"Are they saying the only political opinions that
matter are from parties that have millions in campaign
financing?" he asked.
"We are not going to prostitute ourselves by going
to financiers for huge sums of money," Abdulah said.
He labelled the criteria set by the commission as
discriminatory and undemocratic.
"It places finances above all. Unless you are a
money party with deep pockets you will not be
allowed to participate," said Abdulah.
He said it meant citizens were being denied the
opportunity to hear the MSJ s point of view.
Abdulah: MSJ snubbed
by Debates Commission
SNC-Lavalin could not pass smell test
Probe International director:
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