Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 17th 2013 Contents A19
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T&T and El Salvador will begin the
second round of negotiations on a
Partial Scope Trade Agreement in
Port-of-Spain, from January 20 to
24. The two sides will also negotiate
a bilateral investment treaty and a
tourism co-operation agreement.
Drafts of both agreements are now
being considered by the Office of the
Attorney General, the Ministry of
Tourism, the Tourism Development
Company, the Ministry of Trade,
Industry and Investment and the
Tobago House of Assembly (THA).
T&T and El Salvador held the first
round of talks in El Salvador in
October, led by Ambassador Mervyn
Assam. Those talks focused on
market access, rules of origin, trade
remedies and other issues.
T&T and El Salvador resume partial scope talks
Under the guise of government to govern-
ment arrangements economic apartheid
is being practiced against local workers
That is the claim by President of the T&T
Local Content Chamber TTLCC Lennox
Sirjuesingh who complained about an influx
of foreign contractors and workers for major
infrastructural projects across the country.
Speaking at the TTLCC s annual awards
ceremony at Linx Suites Restaurant, San
Fernando, Sirjuesingh called for more oppor-
tunities for locals.
"As the TTLCC, we face the vexing ques-
tion of undue foreign labour, contractors
and goods, which we can supply in both
quality and quantity," he told the audience
which included San Fernando Mayor Kazim
Hosein and Public Administration Minister
Sirjuesingh said on his way to the awards
ceremony, he drove past a dormitory at the
Ato Boldon Stadium and another almost
opposite, at the Couva Hospital construction
site, both housing Chinese labourers.
"And if you tip toe here you ll see yet
another at the Debe University," he added.
He praised the T&T Guardian and reporter
Radhica Sookraj for exposing SNC-Lavalin,
the Canadian firm chosen to design, finance
and build the Penal Hospital, which is facing
allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption
on several projects in Canada, Algeria,
Bangladesh and Libya.
Sirjuesingh said the reports had put a
halt to further "foreign invasion" for the
the proposed Penal and Arima hospital con-
struction projects. He said: "The Mandela
in us demands that we fight against it (eco-
nomic apartheid). Local content is a right
of our citizens and we need at every oppor-
tunity to ensure this most desirable means
is adhered to.
"I call on the national community to join
with us as we pursue with passion our right-
ful piece of the economic pie. The end is
national development resulting in greater
peace and security."
Sirjuesingh said 2013 had been the year
of local content legislation.
"We now have a Draft Procurement Bill
being discussed with us, along with the
tremendous efforts of the JCC, TTMA, TT
Chamber and Transparency Institute, to
name a few. Mandela was not alone. Our
united voice reflects the voice of the people.
"We are to be as vigilant as possible to
ensure that the Procurement Bill, as legis-
lated, shall be monitored, evaluated, assessed,
amended, as necessary," he said.
Sirjuesingh said the latest Perception of
Corruption report by Transparency Inter-
national, which shows that T&T is perceived
as being more corrupt than a year ago, is
enough to spark national outrage. He called
on members of the Chamber to help weed
"If there is the Mandela in you, trade
unions, all NGO s, churches, lead peaceful,
legal and effective campaigns towards elim-
inating economic injustice.
"Make this your pledge and keep this
years resolution to live the legacy of Man-
dela," he said.
At the function, the Founding Father
award was presented to energy expert and
strategist Anthony PaulPaul Samlalsingh,
EIA Manager, TOSL and Assistant Secretary,
TTLCC, was named Director of the Year.
President of Local Content Chamber:
BUSINESS CONFIDENCE INDEX LAUNCHED
Rambarran, left, with
relations director at
the Arthur Lok Jack
Graduate School of
Dookie; and chief
director of research,
Dr Earl Boodoo, at
yesterday's launch of
Confidence Index at
the Hyatt Regency,
PHOTO: BRIAN NG FATT
The Tobago House
of Assembly (THA)
has terminated its
contract with the
ment Company Ltd
(Nipdec) on the
Park Cultural Com-
This followed a
report on project by
surveyors and con-
struction cost con-
sultants EQS Ltd
which showed delays
and cost over runs.
THA Chief Secretary Orville London said the
agreement was that contractor York Structures
Ltd (YSL) would have sole responsibility for
construction of the centre under strict condi-
tions, including a completion date of December
2014 at a fixed final cost of $551,752,218.16 plus
Cost of construction was originally fixed at
$194 million. The project has been going on for
five years and is 70 per cent complete.
"My biggest problem was the lack of pre-
dictability of the completion of the centre and
because of this the Assembly s desire to bring
closure was in fact continuously frustrated and
we realised that we had to do this thing dif-
ferently," London said.
He said the process had consistently under-
mined the credibility of his administration
because it did not control the process and the
"challenge was how were we going to take con-
trol of the process and what is going to be the
prize, which is a big prize".
London said on November 2, 2011, the THA
approved an increase in the cost of construction
to $350,750,774.03 and Nipdec assured it would
have been completed it by December 2012.
However, after a year it is clear that the centre
is far from complete although the bulk of the
money has been spent.
THA Chief Secretary
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