Hosein claims illegal procurement order for Caricom meeting

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Saddam Hosein –

BARATARIA/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein has questioned whether the PNM is trying to bring in resources from outside TT to help it win the August 14 local government elections.

Speaking at a news conference at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Port of Spain on Sunday, Hosein claimed that before last week’s Caricom heads of government meeting in Port of Spain, Finance Minister Colm Imbert signed an order for goods and services for it to be exempted from the Public Procurement Act for three months.

Hosein said this order was signed on June 29.

The Caricom meeting was held from July 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain. Hosein said, “This is illegal.”

He said this order was issued so that PNM financiers could bring in external resources for the elections and there would be no accountability for them.

Hosein argued this alleged order could only be approved by affirmative resolution of Parliament. He called for Parliament, which is currently on its scheduled mid-year recess, to convene to address the issue.

“This is a free-for-all. They could give anybody a contract!”

Hosein said no one knows how much hosting the Caricom meeting cost the country.

“I have no problem with Trinidad and Tobago hosting foreign dignitaries,” Hosein said, but he added this must be done with accountability to taxpayers.

In a statement on Saturday, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar claimed the UNC was told hosting the meeting cost $20 million.