Businessman Derek Chin has responded to the "insinuations" from the Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry (JCC) that he is intended to benefit from the Government's requests for proposals (RFP) to develop 70 acres of reclaimed land at Invaders Bay, adjoining the MovieTowne cinema complex.
Chin is the chairman of Multi Cinemas Limited, operator of the cineplex chain.
"Even though you submit a proposal, you don't have the right to anything. The Government has asked for proposals from people with proven track records to see what their ideas are, to see if they can give a green light," said Chin in a telephone interview with the Express yesterday.
Afra Raymond, president of the JCC, and other heads in the construction sector held a press conference at the Professional Centre Building, Port of Spain, on September 28 where they highlighted the lack of transparency and what seems to be a pre-decision that businessman Derek Chin would be given this multi-billion-dollar development project.
Chin said his plans to develop the area, which include a cultural display, Carnival museum and aquarium, have not been a secret.
"It is not only now that we are submitting this idea. We submitted to Mr Manning twice, and we continuously made lobbying and proposals to get somebody in the government interested...The RFP has come about as a result of that...By going the RFP route, they're not giving me automatically; they are inviting everybody who has an interest to submit a proposal," said Chin.
"If you believe that it's some favour I'm getting, once the project gets a green light, it is a huge risk, a lot of money, exposing yourself in harsh economic times to make this project happen. It's not something automatic, it will take a lot of work after. It's a challenge. Do I have the energy to really go and get involved in this project? It's not a done deal; it's an assessment of interest in the area and these people are, just as [Minister Cadiz said yesterday], jumping the gun. Why are they condemning a hundred per cent Trinidad and Tobago project? I am just like everyone, taking my chance," he continued.
Regarding the RFP criterion that developers submit proposals that will complement MovieTowne, the JCC in a letter to the Planning Minister dated September 16 said that this is an unfair advantage. But Chin said that the government would like to keep the area as an entertainment area.