Friday, October 12, 2012

London says no law broken, PM cannot halt projects

Orville London told reporters on Thursday Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar does not have the authority to stop projects that fall under the jurisdiction of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).

The THA Chief Secretary was responding to Persad-Bissessar's statements in Parliament the day before when she suggested that two major projects in Tobago be stopped pending investigations. They are the $250 million Bacolet Aquatic Centre and Indoor Sport Complex and the $143 million Milshirv THA Administration Complex at Shirvan Park.

"I am suggesting first of all that the projects — Milshirv and the projects with respect to the aquatic centre — be halted pending proper clarification and investigation. Secondly, the matters be referred to the Attorney General, the DPP and the Integrity Commission to be investigated," Persad-Bissessar said.

She added that she has asked the Finance Minister to conduct a central audit on the projects.

Speaking at a media conference in Tobago London stated that the Bacolet Indoor Complex and Aquatic Centre has not started so there is no question of it being stopped. 

"There is no contract, no agreement to start that project, discussions have been going on with various entities over an extended period. No decision has been made and therefore there is no project to stop," London said.

With respect to the Shirvan complex he said the 20 year lease under a BOLT arrangement with the THA would begin when the project is completed. He said contrary to what the PM said the THA is not breaking the law by entering into the BOLT arrangement.

Persad-Bissessar told Parliament that the THA may be in breach of the THA act by borrowing without the approval of the Finance Ministry. However London said the THA is not borrowing.

Deputy Chief Secretary Hilton Sandy told the media there would have been no controversy on the matters if the Prime Minister had consulted with the Chief Secretary.

London accused the Prime Minister of making a political issue of the projects to shore up waning support in the island. "What is going on is that the Prime Minister and her team recognise that the polls in Tobago are indicating that they are losing ground very fast," London said.

"The Prime Minister is talking about breaking the law, the Finance Minister has in fact broken the law by actually giving Tobago less than the minimum 4.03%," he said.

"From the Assembly perspective there is no way in this century not even in this generation that we would be able to fund any major projects in Tobago, based on the allocation," London said.

The budgetary allocation for the THA for fiscal 2013 is $2.356 billion of which $2.006 billion would be for recurrent expenditure and $350 million for capital expenditure. Further, Tobago will receive an additional $874.9 million under the various other Heads of Expenditure. The THA had asked for $4.3 billion.

No comments:

Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai