Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 21st 2014 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, July 21, 2014
Planning Minister Dr Bhoe
Tewarie says an appeal of Justice
Frank Seepersad s landmark ruling
in the Joint Consultative Council
matter is being considered.
Asked if he was considering an
appeal of Seepersad s ruling,
Tewarie said on the advice of Russel
Martineau SC, the attorney
involved in the matter, and Attorney
General Anand Ramlogan, it was
being looked at.
This, even as the question of
whether the $5.5 billion Govern-
ment Invaders Bay Development
Project is on, or off, remains
Tewarie in a radio interview said,
"There is nothing that says the
project is off. We have been pro-
ceeding in a certain way."
On the other side of the fence
is president of the Joint Consulta-
tive Council (JCC), Afra Raymond.
"The project is definitely not on,
in terms of being well planned and
properly conducted," Raymond said
on the same radio programme.
Their clash came in the wake of
Seepersad s ruling.
In his ruling last week, Seepersad
ordered Tewarie to release infor-
mation on the tendering process
for the project requested by the
The JCC, after being refused the
information it applied for under
the Freedom of Information Act,
had taken the matter to court.
Seepersad disagreed such infor-
mation should be confidential and
said accountability by a government
for its decisions and actions must
be the cornerstone of the demo-
He said the JCC was entitled to
the information and the refusal was
the minister was illegal.
Tewarie said the issue was not
about not wanting to disclose infor-
mation but about an important
principle, whether the advice given
by an attorney to a client was a
private or public matter.
He said he was prepared to
release every single document relat-
ing to the project to the public.
He said according to legal advice
he was given, the confidentiality
of such information was a prece-
dent that went back more than 100
years and would be difficult to
He said the issue has implications
beyond the JCC matter and if the
privacy between an attorney and
a client is violated, it will become
a public document.
Told that public funds were being
used in the Invaders Bay project,
the minister said it was not a matter
of accountability or transparency
but the freedom of information
Raymond countered that the slo-
gan of the day for the last ten years
in T&T has been "new politics.
"A development like this is part
of the new politics," he said.
"Things inconceivable 20 years
ago will become part of the new
Raymond said the public is inter-
ested in information about the proj-
ect because of its importance to
It appears increasingly unlikely
that the US Ambassador designate
to T&T John Estrada will be con-
firmed before the end of the year
as his confirmation remains held
up by the US Senate.
This has been confirmed by well
placed sources in the US State
Department who say the confirma-
tion of that country s Ambassador
to this country is not a priority.
"If the Congress has not dealt
with the President s request for over
$3 billion to deal with the immigra-
tion in southern states do you think
the confirmation of an Ambassador
to Trinidad and Tobago is a priority.
I am afraid that will be dealt with
next year," the T&T Guardian was
With the US Congress expected
to shortly go on its summer break
followed by the mid-term election
sources say Estrada will not be con-
firmed before next year.
Trinidad-born Estrada was nom-
inated by US President Barrack
Obama on July 30, 2013 and for the
last year, his appointment has been-
tied up in Congress.
Under the US system, Estrada
cannot be appointed Ambassador
unless he is first confirmed by the
In response to a number of e-
mails, the US Embassy confirmed
that the wider Senate was yet to
confirm Estrada and that it was not
in a position to say if or when the
ambassador is going to be confirmed
to take up his position in Port-of-
The embassy wrote: "President
Obama nominated John Estrada to
serve as Ambassador to Trinidad
and Tobago on July 30, 2013. He had
a hearing with the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee on February
6, 2014 and now awaits confirmation
by the full Senate. We refer you to
the Senate for information on when
they will vote on his nomination."
Checks with the US Senate reveal
that Estrada is just one of scores of
appointments pending and that the
Senate "will get to it in time."
On July 10, US Secretary of State
John Kerry complained that the Sen-
ate s delay in appointing several
ambassadors including the US
Ambassador to T&T was crippling
the American Foreign Service and
not allowing it to have its strongest
He said, "I want to make a per-
sonal plea to my friends in the Unit-
ed States Senate to please confirm
the State Department s nominees
and confirm them now.
"This very minute, we have 58
nominees pending before the Senate,
including 43 ambassadors. That
means we re going without our
strongest voice on the ground every
day in more than 25 per cent of the
Several nominees have been
awaiting confirmation for a year or
The US Embassy told the T&T
Guardian that while it awaits its new
Head of Mission its relationship with
this country has not been negatively
It noted that corporation remains
at all levels and that it is relying on
the depth of its friendship with T&T.
The embassy wrote: "Although
Mr Estrada has not been confirmed,
our relationship remains strong. As
Chargé d Affaires Margaret Diop said
during our recent Independence Day
"Resting on the foundation of our
shared principles, we have continued
our active collaboration and have
relied not on a single individual, but
on our institutions and organisa-
tions---and the dedicated people
therein---to work together."
to T&T still pending
As court rules for JCC in Invaders' Bay project...
Tewarie: State considering
appeal of judge's decision
The JCC has opposed the proj-
ects for various reasons, including:
•The complete lack of consulta-
tion on such a large scale project.
•Concern over the impact of the
project on the environment.
•The proper development of
those lands must take full account
of drainage issues and the impact
on the environment, including the
marine life issues arising in any wa-
terfront project," Raymond had
•There is no link between the
Request For Proposals put out by
the ministry and the other three
strategic plans for the POS area.
•The late publication of the eval-
•The evaluation rules were only
published after the closing date for
the tenders, so how did the pro-
posers know what criteria to
•That late publication is in
breach of proper tender procedure,
so the entire process is avoidable
and therefore illegal."
It was reported since 2012 that
two local companies, Invaders Bay
Marine Ltd, and Da Chin Commer-
cial Development Ltd, got Cabinet
approval for their proposals to de-
velop the Invaders Bay area.
Da Chin is headed by Movie
Towne owner Derek Chin, who has
a proposal to develop a $2 billion
streets of the world project at In-
vaders Bay and a Carnival wax mu-
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