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New contractor for Penal Hospital
By JULIEN NEAVES Wednesday, October 2 2013
He reported yesterday that CCC has responded in writing to correspondence from the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (Udecott) “and indicated officially that they will consider changing the contractor from SNC-Lavalin”. “(Udecott) is now working with the CCC to look at alternative contractors,” Moonilal told reporters at Piarco International Airport following the departure of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to Panama.
Questioned whether the controversy will push back the original deadline for the hospital Moonilal responded that the first phase, the design phase, was almost complete and these will be secured as per their agreement with SNC-Lavalin. He noted they are now looking for a new contractor, and this may delay the process by about “a few months”. He was also questioned about the comments made by Opposition MP Colm Imbert in Parliament in which he expressed concerns about a previous position held by Canadian High Commissioner Gérard Latulippe, Solicitor General for Quebec, and his resignation after the law firm he previously worked at, was awarded contracts worth $83,000 (Can) from his ministry. Moonilal responded that Imbert was an MP and he was entitled to make observations under the privileges of Parliament, and is also entitled to express his opinion. “I think that the (Canadian) High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago may want to clarify the record perfectly with Mr Imbert on that matter,” he said. Latulippe has publicly stated that he was offended by Imbert’s “attack” noting Imbert’s facts were not accurate. Communications Minister Gerald Hadeed on Monday accused Imbert of creating “a diplomatic mess”. In June it was reported that SNC-Lavalin was awarded a $2.2 billion contract to design the Penal Hospital. Imbert raised a red flag about the contract, telling Parliament that the World Bank had banned SNC and its affiliates over alleged corrupt practices. Earlier this month he filed a parliamentary motion calling on Government to terminate all existing contracts with SNC-Lavalin. Last Monday, Moonilal, Udecott chairman Jerlean John, Latulippe, CCC vice- president, Mariette Fyte-Fortin and SNC-Lavalin officials met to discuss the hospital project. Despite a management appraisal report by the CCC on SNC-Lavalin which “reaffirmed their commitment towards transparency and good ethical practices” the local contingent asked them to change the contractor.
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