|8 police stations at a cost of $290M |
By ANDRE BAGOO Tuesday, July 3 2012
THE STATE will proceed to construct eight new police stations under the same contractor which Udecott awarded the project to in 2010, on the eve of the general election, Bouygues Batiment Trinidad and Tobago Construction Company (BBTTCC), in a near $290 million contract.
Minister of National Security Jack Warner yesterday announced that he had received the warrant for the start of work on the new police stations which will be at Arima, Maloney, Piarco, Cumuto, Brasso, Oropouche, La Brea and Moruga.
“This morning we got the warrant to start building nine police stations. It was signed on Friday and we got it this morning to start doing work on eight police stations,” Warner said. Udecott chief operating officer Greer Quan yesterday said a Notice to Proceed was granted in 2010 pursuant to a directive by the previous Udecott board. “The contract has not been executed. It is pending receipt of mobilisation fees but is expected to cost just over $290 million for the eight police stations,” Quan said.
The choice to continue with Bouygues comes after the company was lambasted by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan in Parliament on July 20, 2010 as he alleged the company had corrupt links to the PNM and was paid large sums on the eve of the May 24 general election.
Warner disclosed the State’s plans to move ahead with the police stations at a press conference his ministry called yesterday morning after a meeting with the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA).
Warner said the move to open new police stations comes amid pressures on existing facilities such as the E-999 emergency hotline which he said got a total of 229,000 calls last year, 60 percent of which were prank calls.
He once more criticised Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs’ 21st Century Policing project, which sees police stations close in “non-peak” times. Warner said this is not acceptable. “So here it is we are starting to build eight police stations and we are closing down eight,” he said. He linked higher levels of calls to E-999 to the closure of police stations.
“We had a meeting with E-999 at 5 am this morning and their complaint is they get 229,000 calls per year, of which 60 percent are prank calls,” Warner said. “And they said in the last month or so this has increased because people don’t know where to go so they call E-999 if their husband has not come home when he was supposed to; if their neighbour threatens them...they call E-999 for some of the most ridiculous things.” “I am against the closure of police stations,” he said. “Nobody can convince me that closing police stations can solve crime. Nobody can convince me that closing the Laventille Police Post is a good thing...that closing the Caroni Police Station is a good thing.”