|Rowley: President must act |
By Clint Chan Tack Tuesday, March 11 2014
OPPOSITION Leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday called upon President Anthony Carmona to exercise his constitutional powers and question Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar about Government’s plans to award a billion dollar contract to Super Industrial Services (SIS) to construct a wastewater plant in Beetham.
He then urged Persad-Bissessar to immediately stop the award of this contract to SIS, and for the project to be properly tendered.
Rowley also charged that Government will use the $5 billion loan it is seeking from the Chinese government to fund its re-election campaign in 2015. Addressing a news conference at the Parliament Building in Port-of-Spain, Rowley declared, “Today, I call on the President of TT to intervene in this matter. All the documentation will be made available to him.” Noting the President has the constitutional power to seek answers from the Prime Minister and Carmona’s predecessor exercised that power regarding the Section 34 fiasco, Rowley said, “Powers we think he does not have, we know he has. We expect that the President will ask of the Prime Minister, explanations for this rape of our Treasury.”
After saying he will write the World Bank, IMF, IDB, CDB and Caricom on this matter, Rowley promised to raise the issue in the House of Representatives in a private motion which could be debated on March 28.
Calling on Persad-Bissessar to stop SIS from being awarded the contract,
Rowley said, “Let us see if this country is prepared to sit down and let these smart men and women use their corrupt practice to deprive us of billions of dollars.”
Claiming the groundwork to award the contract to SIS started long before he raised concerns last September in the Budget debate about this project and the modus operandi was similar to what happened at Desalcott under the former UNC government, Rowley claimed Government ensured the request for proposals was structured “to favour a particular contractor.” Stating that 14 out of 16 contractors who were interested in the project withdrew because the period to submit proposals was too short, Rowley said only SIS and Mexican company Altatec were left.
He said “while the rest of the country was busy gyrating into the rhythms of the Carnival,” Altatec received a letter dated February 26 (Carnival Wednesday) from NGC, informing the company that its proposal was not accepted as “submissions closed on December, 2013.” Saying Altatec’s proposal was $600 million, but SIS’ was $400 million more, Rowley said paid advertisements by NGC and SIS during Carnival were used to fool the public into believing this project was in their interest.