Saturday, December 16, 2017

Chin: I followed procedure for project



Mark Fraser

Businessman Derek Chin maintains he followed procedure when he tendered for the Invader’s Bay project.

Chin, in a brief telephone  interview yesterday, said he was out of the country and unaware of the ruling delivered by High Court judge Frank Seepersad on Monday.

Seepersad, in a landmark ruling, ordered the Minister of Planning Dr Bhoe Tewarie to release information sought by the Joint Consultative Council (JCC).

The JCC had petitioned the court seeking information on the tendering process for the Invader’s Bay, Port of Spain, development plan. They had been denied the information having applied under the Freedom of Information Act.

Following this denial, they filed a judicial review application seeking the information through the courts.

In his 28-page ruling, Seepersad disagreed that such information should be confidential and that accountability by a government for its decisions and actions must be the cornerstone of the democratic process. Seepersad said the JCC was entitled to the requested information under the Freedom of Information Act and the continued refusal by Tewarie to make such information known was illegal.

Chin, who operates the Movie -Towne cineplex along the Audrey Jeffers Highway at Invader’s Bay, said: “Nothing has been awarded. All I know is that a couple of years ago when we submitted our proposal amongst other people, we got the number one position.

“What happened after was negotiating. The whole process regarding purchasing of land and lease of land, that process is still ongoing.”

Chin directed further questions to his attorney Hadyn Gadsby.

When the Express contacted Gadsby yesterday afternoon, he was asked if his client had concerns about the ruling.

He said: “Not particularly, this is a matter between the JCC and the Ministry of Planning. They have undergone a particular process and it doesn’t really affect us. We are not a party to the action.”

Stating the court matter was of public interest, Gadsby said the focus for his client now was to pursue negotiations with the ministry.

“That’s where we are. That’s where we’ve been for some time and that’s a process. We are just following a process which has been outlined to us, nothing more, nothing less. We submitted what we have to submit.

A tender came out and we submitted for the tender and we were invited to negotiate and that’s where we are,” Gadsby said.

In August 2012, Tewarie had announced that Cabinet agreed to give the green light to begin negotiations with Chin through D Chin Commercial Developers Ltd and Jerry Joseph of Marina Development Group to develop part of Invaders Bay.

Chin had submitted a project called “Streets of the World”.