Sunday, November 4, 2012

London's adviser gets $20M contract: Guardian report

Aerial view - Tobago Aquatic Centre - from Edwards & Partners website
A report in the Guardian on Sunday highlights a controversy between the People's Partnership Government and the chief secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Orville London, over a multi-million dollar aquatic centre in Bacolet, Tobago. 
According to the paper, "No tender has been put out for construction, yet a man who claimed he served as an adviser to London has received $20 million for structural engineering services to the aquatic centre."

It names the man as Collin Edwards of the firm Edwards & Partners Consulting Engineers and quotes London as saying Edwards was a consultant to the THA, not an adviser to him. "He said design and construction were separate and he needed to get more details about Edwards’ involvement. He said Edwards’ company would have been involved in the design," the Guardian says.

Edwards is president of Edwards & Partners Consulting Engineers, which was founded in 2007. The company lists the THA on its Web site as its client for three Tobago projects: the National Aquatic Centre and Indoor Sporting Hall, Farmer’s Market and Mall, Scarborough and Calder Hall Road Market Mall.

The Guardian says London declared: “I am very certain that the relationship was not an adviser to the chief secretary.” 

The paper said Edwards was engaged for about six months with specific duties and at the end a report was prepared and submitted to the THA. At the end of the consultancy he had “the right to get involved in work in any division of the THA,” the Guadian quoted London as saying.

However the paper said London insisted that he did not have any personal relationship with Edwards, noting that "different divisions which would have followed the established procedures to award the other contracts". 

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar stopped work on the centre and has questioned whether there was a tender. “Was it tendered?" she asked.The company's website provides specifications for the aquatic centre:
  1. an outdoor swimming pool (to international competition specification)
  2. Gymnasium building, and facilities that support building with tiered grandstand rising above it
  3. Concourse and pool grandstand seating are covered by a double cantilever roof canopy
  4. A venue for competitive swimming, community activities and aquatic therapy
  5. Gymnasium building has a roof span of approximately148 feet with a four-foot overhang on one side and a 15-foot overhang on the other; length of the building is approximately 202 feet with trussed perimeter columns spaced at approximately13.5 feet on centre
  6. Accommodation for 1,500 people with the flexibility to admit another 150
  7. The venue is for competitive netball, basketball, volleyball and other indoor sporting activities, with three competitive courts and one championship court for netball and basketball tournaments
  8. THA Division of Sports, gymnasium for conditioning of athletes, and rooms for the administration of sports events including drug-testing room, locker rooms, and media rooms

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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