|JCC: Old approach to Invaders Bay project |
By LARA PICKFORD-GORDON Friday, November 18 2011
THE MINISTRY of Planning and the Environment’s (MPE) handling of the Request for Proposals (RFP) for further development of “the most valuable piece of property”- Invaders Bay, was yesterday described as representing a “continuation of the old” approach under the PNM in which there was a lack of transparency.
The Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry (JCC) has questioned the MPE’s involvement since the land at Invaders Bay fell under the purview of the Urban Development Corporation of TT (Udecott), which was responsible for the land reclamation there more than ten years ago.
At a media briefing at Hilton Trinidad yesterday president of JCC Afra Raymond called for the MPE to “take the opportunity to withdraw this RFP and revise the process.” The MPE issued the RFP in August for interested parties to outline plans for developing 70 acres south of Movietowne. Recently, Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie said the proposal selected would be known in two weeks.
“The land at Invaders Bay belongs to Udecott, so why should the Minister of Planning be involved in this process in the first place? What is the interest that got the Ministry of Planning involved, without a plan?” asked Winston Riley, immediate past president of the JCC.
Riley said there is a clear conflict of interest for an organisation responsible for approving plans and protecting the public interest to be introducing plans.
Contacted yesterday about the planned development at Invaders Bay, Udecott chairman Jearlean John yesterday said Udecott had no involvement in the RFP for the project although it had “jurisdiction” for the land.
“As it stands now we have no role,” she said. A cabinet note (John could not recall the date) had made Udecott the project manager for work.
John said “the Ministry of Planning has taken a lead role on it.” She said Udecott was in the process of having Invaders Bay “vested” with it.
This would involve the Solicitor General and Commissioner of State Lands.
Among the concerns the JCC had with the process used by the ministry are: lack of a “proper Needs Assessment,” no information on the Invaders Bay development matrix, and absence of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The RFP said proposals would be evaluated in accordance with the matrix.