Asphalt offer broke basic rules
St Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonzalves announced in his parliament recently that Kuarlal Rampersad, chairman of Lake Asphalt, had contacted him by telephone, making an offer of asphalt for the paving of a new runway, at no cost to that country.
What is perplexing about this statement is the deal being offered apparently at a discount price and even more worrisome was PM Gonzalves' statement that the Lake Asphalt chairman requested that he (the Prime Minister) should then make a pitch to the Prime Minister of T&T.
My utter confusion stems from three questions: Why is the chairman of a State company in personal contact with a Caricom leader? Who authorised him to make such an offer which involves ferreting away T&T's assets? Was the Corporation Sole, the Minister of Trade, the Minister of Foreign Affairs or the Prime Minister made aware of the conversation first — before any contact was made with the Vincentian PM?
Clearly the T&T Government has lost its way, as have chairpersons and directors who serve on State boards. This incident demonstrates the absence of corporate standards, accountability and now total disregard for protocol, international relations, and worse, the authority of the Cabinet.
It may have passed as innocuous but I am sure PM Gonzalves and his counterparts laughed heartily at the moronic display of showy bravado. Or is it just that?
We now have to look behind every government transaction, every so-called "gift", to see who are the real beneficiaries and the quantum of personal benefits.
Keith D Toby