Call for action against Warner
PORT-OF-SPAIN – Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley on Monday called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to take the “appropriate action” against her Works and Transport Minister Austin “Jack” Warner over the issue of a multi-million-dollar contract for upgrading the lighting system at the two airports in Trinidad and Tobago.
“That a minister could have disregarded the absence of a board and preceded to authorise under his own hand the awards of contracts . . . . We consider that to be an aberration which now falls for the Prime Minister not to have an investigation into but to take the appropriate position,” Rowley said.
Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar in a statement over the weekend said that the matter of the awarding of the contracts had previously been brought to her attention and that she had instructed that “should a contract be awarded in the absence of accountability and transparency, the same would be voided.
“In light of the allegations now in the public domain, for the avoidance of doubt and in the interests of transparency and accountability, the Prime Minister has concluded that the award of this contract must be reviewed with a view to rescission of same”.
But Rowley told reporters said that the matter was not a political issue but one involving how state business was conducted by public officials.
Rowley said that in the absence of a board to oversee the contracts the decision by Warner to approve the contracts was wrong.
The TT$83.1 million (BDS$27.6 million) contracts were awarded to United Engineering Services Ltd and Harry Persad and Sons Ltd that according to a statement from the Airport Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (AATT) had been successful when the matter had been put out for tender in October 2009. (Trinidad Express)