Moonilal demands answers over Health Ministry flooding

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Dr Roodal Moonilal. – File photo

OPPOSITION MP Dr Roodal Moonilal has called on the Prime Minister to address the June 18 flooding of the $280 million Ministry of Health building at Queen’s Park East, Port of Spain.

A two-inch water line was reportedly at fault. Staff had to be evacuated and the building closed while repairs were done.

Moonilal, the shadow Minister of Housing and Urban Development, criticised the Urban Development Corporation’s (Udecott) handling of the situation in a statement on June 18.

Moonilal said he had previously raised concerns over the project’s model and governance.

“The flooding mess is another disaster by Udecott, which has presided over major construction problems at the Red House, the central block of Port of Spain General Hospital and other public projects.”

He condemned what he called Udecott’s history of construction issues and financial mismanagement.

“The Udecott fiascos have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of precious dollars.”

“This latest scandal is a further glaring indictment on Udecott’s chairman Noel Garcia, whose previous tenure under the Patrick Manning administration was equally disgraceful.”

Moonilal also referred to a parliamentary session at which Garcia reportedly failed to account for significant expenditures.

“Taxpayers will recall that when he appeared before Parliament’s Public Accounts Enterprises Committee last November, Garcia could not properly account for millions of dollars with respect to mega-projects.”

He reminded the public of what he described as Udecott’s past mismanagement, which led to the Uff Commission of Enquiry and its 91 recommendations, implemented by the Kamla Persad-Bissessar government.

He cited the Brian Lara Cricket Academy’s cost overruns from $250 million to $1.25 billion.

“The MoH disgrace is an indication that, under the PNM, Udecott is continuing its poor project management, callous misuse of funds and blatant squandermania.”

Moonilal demanded transparency and accountability from the Prime Minister.

“Rowley must provide a proper explanation to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”