The latest scandal alleged by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Tuesday about tendering improprieties for two multi-million dollar Tobago projects is just one more incident highlighting the need for proper procurement legislation.
This was stated yesterday by head of the Joint Consultative Committee for the Construction Industry (JCC), Afra Raymond.
Raymond told the Express yesterday in a brief telephone interview that the organisation had been lobbying for a long time for improved procurement legislation and "we will maintain our vigilance".
In her contribution to the budget debate at Tuesday's Parliament sitting, Persad-Bissessar raised questions of impropriety with respect to the $250 million Bacolet Aquatic Centre and Indoor Sport Complex and the $143 million Milshirv THA Administration Complex.
She called for the projects to be halted and for Finance Minister Larry Howai to conduct an audit on them.
Tobago Hotel and Restaurant Association president Nicholas Hardwicke said yesterday he did not expect the situation to have an effect on tourism, although he noted that it was not particularly helpful to have such allegations circulating during the booking season for the peak winter holiday season.
Hardwicke did say that from the association's point of view, they were trying to get a meagre marketing and promotions budget but had to hear "telephone number figures" being used to put up buildings.
In her contribution to the budget debate on Wednesday night, Persad-Bissessar said former head of the Public Service, Reginald Dumas, had also raised questions on the BOLT project and, "I don't think Mr Dumas, a man of great dignity, a man who worked in the Public Service at the highest level will stoop to any election gimmick".
She said her Government was committed to ensuring that procurement legislation was laid in the Parliament.
She said the report of the Joint Select Committee (JSC) on procurement as well as a draft bill — Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property 2012- which was created through the work of a number of bodies including the Transparency International and the Joint Consultative Committee would be sent to the Law Review Committee (LRC).