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...Govt saved T&T $25m at Guanapo heights

...Bungalow was being built behind church

By \\\\\ Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

A MASSIVE bungalow was earmarked to be constructed on the compound of the Guanapo church, Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal said as he presented the construction plan that was to cost taxpayers $25 million in the Lower House, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain,  yesterday.

Roodal made the statement yesterday as he delivered his contribution on  the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Bill, 2014.

Moonilal said under the previous People’s National Movement (PNM) administration, Calder Hart, the former executive chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd (UDeCOTT), was given free rein.

Moonilal read a 2006 letter from then planning minister Camille Robinson-Regis to Hart which called on him to comply to questions.

Moonilal, who is the line minister with responsibility for UDeCOTT, said things have changed under his watch.

He said UDeCOTT officials must now seek approval to travel overseas.

“When they undertook to build the Diplomatic Centre, the Prime Minister’s residence, we found in the UDeCOTT cupboards another complex they were building, a complex, a massive complex including residential housing in Guanapo,” Moonilal said.

“And Mr Speaker this is the map that is under the custody of UDeCOTT at that time,” Moonilal said as he produced the plan to the Lower House.

“Taxpayers’ money was being used for a sideline item under the guise of the Diplomatic Centre and the official residence Mr Speaker and what few people know is behind the religious compound was a massive bungalow. A massive bungalow was being contemplated,” he said.

Moonilal said when the People’s Partnership was voted into office on May 24, 2010 they saved taxpayers a $25 million bill for the Guanapo Heights construction.

“Today I can inform this house that had it not been for the intervention in May 2010, this was $25 million gone,” Moonilal said.

“At Guanapo, Mr Speaker, $25 million of taxpayers’ money was going. May 24, 2010 saved the country losing $25 million,” Moonilal said.

 
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