Neisha Galbaransingh, director of Riverside Enterprises Ltd, was awarded a $5 million contract for the rehabilitation of a car park at Maloney Gardens through a fair and square competitive bidding process, Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal and Jearlean John, Housing Development Corporation (HDC) managing director, both said yesterday.
Galbaransingh, daughter of former United National Congress (UNC) financier Ishwar Galbaransingh, is listed as one of the directors of Riverside Enterprises Ltd according to documents obtained under the Companies Act.
On Sunday, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley raised concerns over the contract as he read to the audience of the People's National Movement (PNM) San Fernando West constituency conference, the letter of award from HDC to Riverside Enterprises Ltd.
"It wasn't something that went out for tender. Somebody sent a proposal to the HDC and it accepted the proposal for a car park at Maloney Gardens for $5 million," Rowley had said.
However, both John and Moonilal told the Express yesterday in separate telephone interviews that there was in fact a tender process and the lowest bidder was issued a letter of award.
John said proposals ranging from $5 million to $14 million were received and according to HDC rules—the contract must be awarded to the lowest tenderer—which was Riverside Enterprises Ltd.
"We follow the tender rules scrupulously, there is nothing wrong with the competitive process...if someone sent us an unsolicited proposal we would send it back because we do not respond like that, we follow the rules," said John.
John said the HDC's tenders committee had oversight of the process.
Moonilal said that he does not get involved in the day-to-day operations of HDC but he does know that there was a competitive tender process.
"These matters are within the purview of the HDC, it was done by competitive tender, the contractor was the lowest bidder and it was properly authorised by the board," said Moonilal.
Asked about the company's director Neisha Galbaransingh and concerns over her family ties, Moonilal responded "I am not sure of that, I don't know the name of the company...but even if it is, the person is not debarred from work...it is morally and legally wrong that someone be denied work in Trinidad and Tobago because of any relation,".
The Express obtained a copy of the letter of award from the HDC to Riverside Enterprises Ltd.
The letter, dated August 24, stated HDC has accepted the company's proposal for the rehabilitation of a car park at Maloney Gardens.
"You are now required to enter into formal contract with the HDC for the execution of these works. You are to produce evidence that you have properly effected Contractors' All Risk and Workmen's Compensation Insurance Policies together with any other insurances in accordance with your contractual obligations," stated the letter.
The letter stated that all works must be executed in accordance with the proposal as well as the specifications and general terms and conditions outlined in the contract documents.
"You are expected to perform the services with due diligence and excellence," stated the letter, adding that on provision of the requested instrument, no later than ten working days from the date of the award letter, a meeting would be held with HDC's divisional manager estate management who will give further instructions in respect of the award.
According to documents under the Companies Act, Riverside Enterprises Ltd with the address 15 Andrew Lane, Mausica Lands, was incorporated in March this year with two listed directors- Barbara Alexander whose occupation was listed as front office manager and Fidjy Chang who was named as executive assistant.
Another document, from the Registrar General's department, dated July 20, 2012 stated that Neisha Galbaransingh was appointed director of Riverside Enterprises Ltd. Her occupation was listed as university student.
That document states further that Alexander ceased to hold the position of director thereby leaving Chang and Neisha Galbaransingh as the two directors of the company. Calls to Neisha Galbaransingh's phone yesterday were not answered.