Saturday, December 16, 2017

...Ganga: This is deja vu

Minister of the Environment and Water Resources Ganga Singh has said SNC Lavalin received $2.5 billion contracts under the People’s National Movement (PNM) government.

Singh was responding to statements from PNM Senator Diane Baldeo-Chadeesingh during debate on the private motion on campaign finance reform in the Senate yesterday.

Baldeo-Chadeesingh had raised the issue of the scandal-plagued company and its link to the Penal Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre. Singh said, however, he wanted to draw to her attention a newspaper report which stated SNC Lavalin got $2.5 billion in contracts under the PNM.

“When you point a finger in the other direction, check to see how many fingers are pointing at you,” he said.

Singh said in 2006, as a member of the House of Representatives, he moved a private motion to deal with the issue of campaign finance. “This is 2014. For me, this is déjŕ vu,” he said. “It is clear that there has to be intervention in this matter,” he added.

Singh said the Government passed “landmark legislation last week”, which would change of the “paradigm” of procurement.

“Today we are dealing with campaign finance reform and when we vote in favour of this motion, we would be setting in train another para­digm shift in the context of the politics of Trinidad and Tobago”, he said.

He said the Government endorsed the motion, which was consistent with its party manifesto. “We are very clear in our manifesto which commits the party to promote legislation for the registration and funding of political parties subject to review by an independent body,” he said.