Moonilal: Udecott must restart PoSGH bidding process

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A section of the construction zone at the central block of the Port of Spain General Hospital. – SUREASH CHOLAI

THE Opposition is calling on Urban Development Corporation (Udecott) chairman Noel Garcia to start over the bidding process for a package of work for completion of the Port of Spain General Hospital’s central block construction project, amid reports of a “glitch” in the corportation’s e-tender system.

Speaking at the UNC’s weekly Sunday press briefing, at the Office of the Opposition Leader, Port of Spain, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal said a new bidding process is the only fair thing to do.

Media reports are that there were only two successful bidders before the May 20 deadline set by Udecott. However, contractors complained that they were told that a technical glitch allowed a third bidder to enter the e-tender platform after the deadline date.

Moonilal said he wasn’t convinced this was a glitch.

“Nobody else had this problem except the third bidder. Yet they had a glitch and the proposal didn’t come in on the e-platform.

“So the first two (bids), which Udecott opened and you saw the amounts and data of these two bidders, now a third bidder’s documents came in late. So that company could have already known the contents of the two bids,” Moonilal said, reiterating that he was casting no aspersions on anyone or any company.

“This deserves a full, independent inquiry because there is now the issue that a third bidder appears to have been the successful bidder.”

In March, the corporation said there was a $110 million increase in the $1.1 billion budget, after the Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) pulled out of the contractual agreement in an April 8 letter to Udecott.

By April 19, tenders for the first of seven packages to have the project completed, were sent out.

This package includes completing the remaining steelworks, sheer wall and slab. Other packages will include building work, medical equipment, furniture, and ICT equipment.

Moonilal said, “Continuing issues associated with the construction of the central block, which has taken a new twist, really suggests the project is blighted, the project is mismanaged and there may be further evidence of corruption.

“So the glitch, whatever it was, didn’t make no difference. This speaks to a very serious matter.”

Efforts to reach Udecott chairman Garcia on Sunday for a comment were unsuccessful.