Friday, January 19, 2018

Not one cent paid for $5.5m invoice

Bhoe responds to claims of owing contractor...


POINT OF ORDER: Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie during his contribution at yesterday’s sitting of Parliament, at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain. —Photo: CURTIS CHASE

Mark Fraser

 Planning Minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie yes­terday, in the House of Representatives, sought to continue the argument which had begun on Thurs­­day night between himself and Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner at a TV6 town meeting on the Brian Lara Promenade, Port of Spain.

Speaking under the item “Statements by Ministers”, Tewarie, a senator, told the House at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain: “Last night, at a town meeting on the Brian Lara Promenade, hosted by TV6, the Member for Chaguanas West publicly accused me of not paying a contractor or contractors for work done on a water tank in Pump Trace, East Port of Spain, in 2012. Mr Speaker, with your leave, I take this opportunity to point out that this is not a fact and it is certainly not true.”

As Tewarie began to give the full details, People’s National Movement (PNM) MP Marlene McDonald objected: “Mr Speak­er, I rise on a point of clarification. Is this a ministerial statement on Government policy?”

Speaker Wade Mark said it was both the minister cla-

ri­fying a statement made by a member of the House at the town meeting and, at the

same time, attempting to put

some perspective as it relates to Government policy.

“But I understand the point you are trying to make because it confuses not only yourself but other members as to whether this is a personal explanation or whether it is a poli­cy statement,” Mark said.

As Tewarie continued, McDonald interrupted again: “I saw what happened on television last night, and I believe the member for Chaguanas West is directly involved in this matter. He is not here to defend himself and therefore this is wrong.” 

Sport Minister Anil Roberts shouted: “PNM/ILP Alliance!”

“Mr Speaker, may I speak? Can’t I speak? I am

a representative in this House!” McDonald roared.

“Oooh!” Government mem­bers chorused.

Mark said: “Marches are not taking place here.”

He said he understood McDonald’s point. He said in future, “I would like to have a brief on all statements so that I can guide members—be they members of the Government or the Opposition.”

Tewarie said Warner, on December 6, 2012, gave

him by hand, after a Cabinet

meeting, an invoice for $5.5 million from Park Square Development Com­-

pany Ltd for works comple-

ted at Pump Trace Reser­voir, Pump Trace, Laventille, “for my consideration”.

Tewarie said he was surprised to receive a request for payment and an invoice for work done from a minister. He was also surprised because he was not aware of any involvement by the East Port of Spain Development Company (EPOSDC) in this project.

He said he asked his per­manent secretary, Arlene McComie, to enquire into the matter.

Tewarie said his PS discovered EPOSDC was never involved at any stage in this project. Also, he said, based on the works indicated in the invoice and the rates used by EPOSDC, the cost of the works, if completed as specified, would be $1.6 million.

“A check with the number listed for Park Square Development Company revealed no company and a referral number for the managing director did not get us to the managing director. Neither the Ministry of Planning nor EPOSDC paid one cent for this project,” Tewarie said.