Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Raymond responds

In response to questions asked by the Express, JCC member Afra Raymond said Justice Seepersad’s ruling is welcomed.

“The JCC welcomes this ruling as offering  judicial support for the important principle that proper development can only take place if the public is informed of the details,” Raymond said.

He said that Seepersad’s ruling requires the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development “to give us the legal opinions they have been relying on in repeatedly stating that their actions in relation to the Invaders Bay development have not violated the provisions of the Central Tenders’ Board Act”.

Raymond said the ruling also relates to the impending Public Procurement & Disposal of Public Property Bill, which is now being debated in Parliament. “The JCC has been lobbying and making proposals in relation to this law, which is intended to control transactions in public money, of which the Invaders Bay project is an apt example.”

Declaring that the JCC is pleased with the progress made thus far in advancing this new law, Raymond said: “Our country needs modern, effective laws to protect the public interest, so the JCC is strongly urging all parliamentarians to follow the example set by the Senate on June 11 in unanimously approving the law”.

Raymond also said when the documents become available to the JCC from the ministry, they will be published for public consideration.

Asked whether the JCC thought  that procedures were questionable in the awarding of the contracts, hence the request made under the FOI Act, Raymond said as far as the JCC is aware, no contracts have been awarded at Invaders Bay. He  said there were several questionable aspects to the Request for Proposals process as undertaken by the Ministry, some of which include lack of consultation. Pointing out that good public administration must be consistent, Raymond said in this case it was sorely absent. —Denyse Renne