Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Jearlean: Projects to go out for public tender this month

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revise the process: President of the Trinidad and Tobago Contractors Association Mervyn Chin, from left, Joint Consultative Council (JCC) past president Winston Riley and JCC president Afra Raymond at yesterday's press conference in Port of Spain.—Photo: Micheal Bruce

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Chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) Jearlean John says that by the end of the month, a number of UDeCOTT projects will go out for public tender, including police stations, fire stations and the Red House renovation.

"Two million square feet of space shared between five buildings. All will be going out for public tender. The same way we did it for Tower D, we will continue on that track," said John in a telephone interview with the Express yesterday.

She said requests for proposals (RFP) had already been drawn up which will give everybody an equal chance.

"Any local contractor who wants to participate will be given an equal opportunity," John said.

"We will give people sufficient time to prepare (their presentations) and UDeCOTT will use its good judgement to decide if they should get an extension. The barriers to entry (to bid) will not be high," said John.

The RFPs for these UDeCOTT projects will be different from the ones issued by the Ministry of Planning for the Invaders Bay development project.

Yesterday, the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) for the Construction Industry and other private sector/civil society groups held a press conference at the Hilton Trinidad Port of Spain to again criticise the procurement procedure for the billion-dollar project.

JCC president Afra Raymond said the Invaders Bay RFPs lacked clear rules for project evaluation.

He said that as the most valuable piece of property in Trinidad and Tobago, owned by the government— and by extension, taxpayers—the development plans for the 70-acre plot needed to be more transparent, with the public having the right to know about the awards process.

"The approach being taken on Invaders Bay represents a continuation of the old, making it effectively a breach of trust to the national community," said Raymond. "We once again urge the Ministry of Planning to withdraw the RFP and revise the process," he added.

Also at the conference, Trinidad and Tobago Contractors Association president Mervyn Chin announced that the JCC would be writing to the government for clarification on reports circulating that foreign contractors have already been awarded contracts for several local "mega-projects" including three stadia, the Mamoral Dam and the Children's Hospital in Central.

"We wish to reinforce the point that, as a nation that is growing, we need to adopt a new policy of local content," said Chin.

John responded to this, saying that while the stadia and the dam were National Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco) projects, the hospital was a government to government arrangement where several countries including Japan, Austria, Canada and China had approached the T&T government about funding these projects.

She said no assignment had been made yet, and that the specifics of the agreements would determine the contractor but it did not mean it would go to a foreign contractor.