Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Imbert: Newsletter proves Chadeesingh was chairman

Diego Martin North East MP Colm Imbert is asking why Roop Chan Chadeesingh, chairman of National Gas Company (NGC), has gone silent since the People’s National Movement (PNM) produced a Super Industrial Services (SIS) newsletter confirming that Chadeesingh was chairman of SIS in October 2010.

 NGC is the State-owned company which awarded the billion-dollar Beetham waste water treatment plant project to an SIS-led consortium.

Speaking in the House of Representatives yesterday on a motion asking Government to scrap the contract,  Imbert noted that Sport Minister Anil Roberts had stated that in order to prove corruption, there had to be evidence of a relationship or collusion.

 He said Roberts read out a disclaimer from Chadeesingh, published in the newspapers, and noted that “the man (Chadeesingh) paid his money” (for an ad in the newspaper) in order to address an Express article quoting Keith Rowley as saying that he had been a former chairman of SIS.

 In the disclaimer Chadeesingh stated he “has never been appointed, nor has he ever served as director, chairman or officer of SIS”.

 Imbert said yesterday he had in his possession a company newsletter, produced for SIS by Info Vision, which stated clearly that Roop Chan Chadeesingh, in his capacity as chairman of SIS, handed over a disaster relief warehouse to the Government after the floods in August 2010. 

Imbert said the current chairman of NGC, the State company responsible for the award of the Beetham contract to SIS, had also been a chairman of SIS in October 2010.

 “This is SIS newsletter, in which they are praising themselves for giving back to the community and it cites Roop Chan Chadeesingh as the chairman, Mr Speaker.

 “It is very easy to take up an appointment (with a company) and before the annual returns are filed, to come out of the company and your name would not appear in the company’s registry,” he said.

 But Imbert stated since the PNM produced the newsletter four weeks ago in the Parliament, he has not heard a word from Chadeesingh, nor SIS.

 “Let them explain why they published an internal company document describing Mr Chadeesingh as the chairman of SIS.”

Imbert said SIS, a favoured son of the Government, was given a contract at a price $400 million above the price of the next bidder.

 He said Roberts’s contribution, on the last occasion this motion was discussed, was riddled with “the usual inaccuracies, misrespresentations and untruths”.

Criticising Government’s manner of dealing with contracts,  Imbert also claimed that months after Government  pulled out of its arrangement with Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) to have SNC-Lavalin build the Penal hospital, Government is once again in discussions with CCC to build a billion-dollar causeway to Chaguaramas.

Imbert said he had notes of meetings that Works Minister Suruj Rambachan had been having with Canadian Commercial Corporation about building a causeway to Chaguaramas.

 “Get up and say you didn’t meet with them to have a government-to-government arrangement with the CCC...I will sit down and allow you to say so... You can’t get up,” he said to Rambachan.

 “We had a situation with the Canadian Commercial Corporation, where they were engaging a corrupt company to do the Penal hospital (which I hope would be eventually built as soon as possible),” Imbert said.

Rambachan rose to say he had “no such arrangements with any company or any group. I am in no arrangements with any group to that effect. Many companies visit me from all over the world, but I repeat I have no such negotiations or arrangements with anybody whatever”.

Imbert said the “spin” from Rambachan was being very carefully crafted in terms of the words he had used. Imbert said, however, he knew “verse and chapter” on this issue and knew that months after the Government had cancelled the contract with SNC-Lavalin, it had begun discussions with CCC for the construction of the causeway. 

CCC, a Canadian government agency that facilitates Canadian private sector companies that wish to participate in government-to-government contracts, had selected SNC-Lavalin as a contractor for the Penal hospital. But SNC-Lavalin had been embroiled in a series of corruption scandals and had been banned by the World Bank from bidding on any bank-funded projects for the next decade.

The Canadian company had been implicated in bribery and corruption scandals in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Algeria and Montreal.