SNC-Lavalin ‘wants to leave a positive legacy for Trinis’
Carla Bridglal firstname.lastname@example.org
SNC-Lavalin remains interested in building the hospital at Penal for the local population and their families, the company has said.
In an exclusive e-mail interview with the Express yesterday, Leslie Quinton, the company’s senior vice-president for Global Corporate Communications, said despite this it will respect the wishes of the Trinidad and Tobago Government.
“If we do not obtain the mandate to proceed, however, it should not be because of any doubts regarding our ethics and compliance performance and commitment. To be clear, we believe we have made enormous strides to improve our ethics and compliance processes and programmes since the issues came to light in late 2011 and early 2012, and are proud of our progress in this regard.
“We are confidently on a path to count ourselves among the best in the world in the engineering and construction sector in terms of ethics and compliance excellence. We welcome the transparency because we want to have a positive impact on the community, and in the country,” Quinton said.
In June, it was reported that SNC-Lavalin had been awarded a $2.2 million contract to design the Penal hospital, which Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie said was made on the recommendation of the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), a government organisation.
In April, the Montreal-based company was slapped with a ten-year ban from the World Bank, forbidding it from bidding on any projects funded by the international monetary body.
Its former chief executive, Pierre Duhaime, was charged in February with fraud, and last week, its former vice-president, Kevin Wallace, was arrested on allegations of bribery.
Quinton said since then SNC-Lavalin has turned an important page and is striving to move forward. “While we appreciate why clients have needed reassurance over the past two years since these issues came to light, we have been very successful in demonstrating that the conditions that may have permitted a few aberrations to occur are no longer possible.
“The allegations being reported in the media date back to 18 months ago or longer and are associated with a few individuals who are no longer with the company. We understand that we need to rebuild trust with a number of clients and are committed to doing so. The 34,000 employees at SNC-Lavalin are proud of the work that they do every day on projects around the world. We continue to try to keep the global community informed of its progress toward achieving the best ethics, compliance, governance, quality, sustainability and health and safety standards in everything that the company does,” she said.
Quinton said SNC-Lavalin should be considered an “excellent choice” for the Penal Hospital because of its technical, managerial and engineering expertise.
“Should SNC-Lavalin be privileged to build this hospital for Trinidadians, we will do so with on-island consulting expertise, such as budget preparation, architecture, civil, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering and geotechnical specialists.
“We will work closely and in a transparent manner with all sub-contractors on this project. What’s more, should we build the hospital, SNC-Lavalin will consider training Trinidadian operational staff.
“SNC-Lavalin is also interested in leaving a positive legacy for the people of Trinidad and Tobago, consisting of high-quality social infrastructure that they will be proud of, providing much-needed services in a world-class health care facility,” she added.
Quinton noted that the company had been interested in various projects in Trinidad and Tobago for a number of years and had done other projects here in the past, including a sulphide chemical facility and a low sulphur diesel plant.
The company was recommended for this project by the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a government-to-government contracting agency that has a selection process and specific criteria to be eligible on their pre-qualified bidders list.
“The relevant T&T authorities have been in discussions with the CCC, who are the official intermediaries in this process, and they have involved us where appropriate... This has been a thorough, logical and well-resolved process thus far, working closely with Trinidadian health-care administrators and physicians for over a year. We made a presentation of this scheme in June to all stakeholders prior to finalising a delivery contract, beginning documentation and establishing tendering approaches.
“Should we ultimately be granted this contract, SNC-Lavalin plans to work closely with the local construction community with a view to maximising the local content contribution to the Penal project. This would be achieved through retaining qualified local sub-contractors following a very transparent tendering process.
“This project would be performed by a combination of design-and-build teams bringing the best talent from both Trinidad and Canada to make this project an ultimate success and a showpiece of modern health facility. Also, the majority of the project will be built by a Trinidadian workforce,” said Quinton.