A letter was sent to the Prime Minister six months ago, calling for an investigation into allegations of corruption into several mega-construction projects, president of the Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry (JCC) Afra Raymond has said.
Speaking to the Express by phone on Tuesday, Raymond took issue with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's statements that there was no evidence of corruption against her Government.
Raymond said the Prime Minister's words seemed like "an echo", in that they were consistent with Government's approach of denying any wrongdoing.
"We have been very expressive on this. We have documented cases of illegal actions on large-scale projects... We need to have a proper investigation to the point where people need to be charged," Raymond said.
He noted that the JCC, in partnership with other organisations, has sent several letters to the Prime Minister—the latest in April this year—as well as to other ministers, expressing concern about alleged illegal practices in the construction sector.
Raymond forwarded to the Express a copy of the letter sent to the Prime Minister in April, and signed by other heads, including Narine Singh, president of the Association of Professional Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago; Dr Charisse Charles Griffith, president of the Institute of Surveyors of Trinidad and Tobago; Mervyn Chin, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Contractors Association, and Mark Raymond, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of Architects.
In the letter dated April 24, concerns were raised with respect to several projects, including the Invaders Bay project, the development of the San Fernando Waterfront, the Chaguaramas Development Authority master plan, the UWI Debe Campus and the proposed port expansion, among others.
"In administrative terms, the present situation is the same as obtained during the previous administration. This situation offers the same scope for waste, theft and nepotism, as well as the inevitable further erosion of public confidence," stated the JCC in its 23-page letter.
The letter stated that the public procurement process was under "damaging triple attack", as State enterprises and agencies continued to operate without implementing the recommendations from the Prof John Uff enquiry, and ministries were circumventing the Central Tenders Board Act in seeking to advance large projects.
With respect to the Invaders Bay project, the letter stated that the process was fundamentally flawed because the rules for the evaluation of the proposals were not available until after the closing date.
The letter also took issue with Evolving TecKnologies and Enterprise Development Company's January 4, 2012, bid package where, according to the JCC, the company solicited tenders for the evaluation of its industrial estate real estate portfolio under terms which gave it the right to select a successful bidder without being obliged to give any explanation of its decision.