Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Everything above board in award of HDC contract

File: Roodal Moonilal and Jearlean John
Ish Galbaransingh's daughter, Neisha Galbaransingh, did not get any special treatment in the award of a government contract for $5 million as alleged by Opposition Leader Keith Rowley.

That's what Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal and the Managing Director of the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), Jearlean John, told the Trinidad Express in separate interviews.

Rowley spoke about the contract at a meeting on Sunday and charged the award was made without tender to a university student who is the daughter of businessman Galbaransingh. 

Galbaransingh is one of the people who had been charged with fraud in the Piarco Airport cases. He had been a financier of both the United National Congress (UNC) and the People's National Movement (PNM). "It wasn't something that went out for tender. Somebody sent a proposal to the HDC and it accepted the proposal for a car park at Maloney Gardens for $5 million," Rowley said.

Neisha Galbaransingh is a Director of Riverside Enterprises Ltd, the company that was awarded a $5 million contract for the rehabilitation of a car park at Maloney Gardens. Both the minister and the HDC boss claimed that she got the contract through a fair and square competitive bidding process.

The Express said the minister and John explained that there was indeed a tender process, with proposals ranging from $5 million to $14 million, and that the contract was awarded to the lowest bidder.

John insisted that there is nothing wrong with the competitive process. And she dismissed Rowley's accusation that the HDC responded to an unsolicited proposal. "If someone sent us an unsolicited proposal we would send it back because we do not respond like that, we follow the rules," said John.

Moonilal told the paper he does not get involved in the day-to-day operations of HDC but he knows that there was a competitive tender process. "These matters are within the purview of the HDC, it was done by competitive tender, the contractor was the lowest bidder and it was properly authorised by the board," he said.

The minister said he was not sure about the director's family ties. However he added that even if she is the daughter of Galbaransingh she is "not debarred from work." He said, "It is morally and legally wrong that someone be denied work in Trinidad and Tobago because of any relation."

The Express said it has obtained a copy of the letter of award from the HDC to Riverside Enterprises Ltd. dated August 24 for the rehabilitation of a car park at Maloney Gardens. According to what the paper published, the company is required to complete the job in accordance with all the normal rules.

The paper said one document from the Registrar General's department, dated July 20, 2012 confirmed that Neisha Galbaransingh's occupation is listed as university student.

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Jai & Sero

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Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
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