HOUSING Minister Roodal Moonilal is expected to approach Cabinet tomorrow to recommend that this country’s arrangement with the Canadian government regarding construction projects be terminated.
Moonilal said the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) had chosen contractor SNC-Lavalin to do projects in this country, including construction of the Penal Hospital.
SNC-Lavalin has been awarded a $2.2 million contract to design the hospital.
But SNC-Lavalin has been making international headlines for allegations of bribery and had been slapped with a ten-year ban by the Word Bank from participating in any projects funded by that organisation.
The issue about SNC-Lavalin was raised in Parliament by Opposition MP Colm Imbert who called for the Government to terminate all its existing contracts with the company.
Yesterday Moonilal said, “We are very concerned with all the developments related to that project (and) I can tell you we met yesterday with the CCC, the Canadian Head of Mission in Port of Spain and the UDeCOTT (Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago) and we did make our position clear.
We invited the CCC to select another contractor notwithstanding their reports of due diligence and management performance appraisal and so on. We believe that public confidence has been undermined in the particular contractor and their problems are ongoing.
“Given that, that company, the contractor has ongoing problems, I do not think it is in the public’s interest to continue the arrangement with them. We have invited them to submit to another company.
“Failing that, if their position is no, that they will not and they are adamant that they will utilise this company, I expect to appraise the Cabinet on Thursday. I’ve already had a discussion with acting Prime Minister Prakash Ramadhar and Prime Minister (Kamla) Persad-Bissessar and I expect to appraise the Cabinet on Thursday and to go so far as to recommend to the Cabinet that we terminate the overnment to government arrangement with the Canadian government.”
On the allegation that Tourism Minister Chandresh Sharma’s son once worked with SNC-Lavalin, Moonilal said that the Government has not been able to verify this.
“That is not information that we can confirm at all. We were aware of the High Commissioner’s involvement with that company before but we are not aware of any involvement of any minister’s son with the company,” he said yesterday during a family and sports day at Diamond Village, south Trinidad.