JSC inquiry into highway project continues June 6

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Land and Physical Infrastructure JSC chairman, Independent Senator Deoroop Teemal. – File photo courtesy Office of the Parliament

PARLIAMENT’s Land and Physical Infrastructure Joint Select Committee (JSC) will continue its public inquiry into the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension project when it sits at the Red House, Port of Spain on June 6 from 10 am.

The committee, chaired by Independent Senator Deoroop Teemal, last met on this matter on March 20 and April 24.

In a statement in the House of Representatives in November, the Prime Minister said the public needed answers about what happened with that project under the UNC-led People’s Partnership (PP) coalition government from May 2010-September 2015.

“The public, through its representatives in this House, must seek and obtain answers from all persons involved in or associated with this scandal.

“This is even more necessary since, in recent times, attempts have been made to give opportunity to person/s to put misinformation on the parliamentary record,” Rowley said.

He then listed some burning questions: “By what process, advice and documentation was it determined that the billion-dollar contract must be amended to grant an $852 million waiver to (Construtora) OAS (the Brazilian company that was the project’s contractor)?

“Who authorised the amendment of the contract?

“What was the specific purpose and benefit to be had, and by whom?

“Who actually carried out the instructions?

“What was the role of the Ministry of Works and Transport, the board of Nidco (National Infrastructure Development Company), the consultant and the management in effecting the amendment and its consequent waiver?”

The UNC members on this JSC – Princes Town MP Barry Padarath and Opposition Senator Anil Roberts – are boycotting meetings of the committee on this matter, in accordance with a decision by the party taken last November.