Justice Gobin to hear EFCL winding-up petition

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

THE EFCL’s signage outside it’s offices in Long Circular Road, Maraval. FILE PHOTO –

WITH millions of dollars still owing to several contractors, a petition had been filed in the High Court for the winding-up of debt-ridden state company the Education Facilities Company Ltd (EFCL).

An advertisement in the newspapers on the weekend stated that a petition was presented to the High Court for the winding-up of the EFCL on February 28 – the same date a purported notice of termination to EFCL staff members, was circulated widely on social media.

In that notice of termination, reported on February 28 by Newsday, EFCL’s acting chairman Savitree Seepersad explained that the company was no longer able to carry on the business it was established for and as such, a decision was made to go out of business.”

Seepersad is listed as a deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance which was given purview of the EFCL which was originally under the control of the Ministry of Education.

Justice Carol Gobin who has been assigned to hear the petition to wind-up the Education Facilities Company Ltd (EFCL) on April 25. FILE PHOTO –

The EFCL was established in 2005, under the then Patrick Manning-led Government, as a special purpose company tasked to be the executing arm of the Ministry of Education in terms of construction of new schools and the continuous refurbishment/repairs to existing schools.

The EFCL used the services of local private contractors to source workmen and material to build/repair schools.

However, the EFCL was bedevilled with debt over several years and of late, wasn’t even able to pay its own staff. This debt plus millions of dollars in court judgments against it, led to the State deciding to close down the company.

The notice in the newspaper stated that Justice Carol Gobin was assigned to hear the wounding-up petition on April 25 at 11.30 am in a virtual hearing.

Any creditor or contributory to the EFCL desiring to support or challenge the petition, was asked to attend the hearing either in person or through their attorney.

The creditor or contributor was given up to 1 pm on April 22, to indicate in writing, his/her intention to attend the hearing, to Savitri Sookraj-Beharry, of the law firm Pollonais, Blanc, de la Bastide and Jacelon, Pembroke Street, Port of Spain.

In early April, contractors and consultants formed an alliance called the EFCL Unpaid Contractors and Consultants Action Committee with the sole purpose of pursuing payments owed to them by the company.

The group, in newspaper advertisements, called on contractors or consultants who worked for Government through the EFCL and who were not paid, to join in proposed action to recover the monies owed.

Contractors were given an e-mail address for the committee and invited to a meeting to discuss their course of action against the EFCL.