Indarsingh: Are contractors being favoured for election roadworks?

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh – Photo by Jeff K. Mayers

COUVA South MP Rudranath Indarsingh has questioned whether certain contractors were being preferred over others for roadworks in the run-up to the local government elections.

He asked this during the launch of an online newsletter, Vote Note, for the elections at his constituency office in Couva on Thursday.

Indarsingh scoffed at Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan for reportedly describing himself as “the only honest Indian in politics” and speaking about $400 million being allocated towards road repairs.

He claimed no such repairs were taking place in his constituency.

“The largest pothole that currently exists in Trinidad and Tobago is located on the Camden Road (in Couva).”

Indarsingh added, “I don’t know where the $400 million gone.”

Reiterating the UNC’s previous concerns about the cost of a Caricom crime symposium in Port of Spain in April , Indarsingh said no one knew what the cost of hosting the Caricom heads of government meeting this week would be.

“The entire Caricom network in town. “We have no problem with celebrating Caricom and regional integration,” he added.

But Indarsingh said the problem arises when “monies cannot be allocated to the Couva (Tabaquite/Talparo Regional) Corporation (CTTRC) and money cannot be allocated to the Secondary Road Rehabilitation and Improvement Company Ltd to fix the roads in Couva South and Central Trinidad.”

He demanded the people in these areas be treated equally with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who attended the Caricom meeting.

“If you could pave the roads for them, you must also pave the roads for the taxpaying public in these parts of the country too.”

Indarsingh asked if all contractors were being paid for the roadwork they are undertaking.

He called on Rural Development and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi to say whether money had been released to contractors in the CTTRC.

Indarsingh referred to a newspaper report which said a contractor had blocked the entrance to the corporation’s office in Couva to protest the non-payment of money owed to him.

“This is the sad state of affairs. They (government) are spending money to improve their image from a foreign policy point of view.”

Indarsingh urged UNC candidates contesting CTTRC electoral districts to use the information in the newsletter to educate themselves about the concerns of their potential burgesses.

“When we represent people, people expect us to respond in real time.”

He said elected representatives at local and central government level must also be aware that the people they represent will not be able to come physically to see them when their schedule does not permit it.