UNC questions cost of PM’s residence in Tobago

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Dr Roodal Moonilal . File photo by Jeff K Mayers

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal is calling for an independent investigation into the cost of construction of the Prime Minister’s Tobago residence. He said the cost, as stated in documents received from Udecott, had gone from a initial budget of $25 million to $63 million.

Speaking at the UNC’s virtual meeting on Sunday, he said a request had been made for the cost during the Standing Finance Committee.

“When we were in office, I told Kamla Persad-Bissessar that Udecott said it would cost $20 million and she said that money could be better spent elsewhere, and that Udecott should either revise the budget or shelve it. We can now confirm that $48 million was already paid to the company, with a further unpaid balance of $15 million. We are calling for an unbiased enquiry as to who the contractors were and why the cost was so high.”

Moonilal also asked why the PNM was using TTT as a resource to broadcast its political meetings for free.

“During the standing finance committee, we asked what was the revenue collected from broadcasting political meetings. The information we received was that there had been at least six PNM political meetings aired during the fiscal year for which no payments were received and no payments were outstanding. No political meetings of other parties were aired.”

The MP also asked for details of the 2,500 cameras which the PM recently announced would be acquired at a cost of $18 million. He asked whether this figure included the system needed to run the cameras, what the specifications were, what the tendering process had been, and whether the cameras would be able to capture information which could be used as evidence in a court of law.