Sunday, December 16, 2012

Letter: Why must taxpayers fund JCC highway review?

Dear Editor,

I read with immense interest the promise made by Carson Charles of NIDCO that his company was willing to pay for the JCC’s study of the Point Fortin Highway. The question arises as to whether any payment to the JCC was requested or required as a condition of the review. 

I don’t recall that in the letter of understanding signed by the Minister and the JCC that any issue of payments arose. Why is the JCC now asking for money for something they volunteered to do. They are the ones who invited themselves as so called decent and full of integrity individuals of civic society to be intermediaries in the Kublalsingh matter. 

The government agreed but I repeat, I did not read nor hear of the government promising to pay for any review, that is until now.

I will like to ask what is the role of the Board of Directors of NIDCO and the line Minister in this matter? Did the Board give approval for this? Can Carson Charles just pick up taxpayers money and do what he wants? Has he forgotten that there are rules for procurement and for the way public funds are used? 

I now further ask, is it that this is what it was all about. That these JCC experts wanted some money and saw a way to get it. It almost sounds like blackmail and worse yet it is damn obscene, especially coming from people like Afra Raymond who has been putting himself forward as a bastion of integrity in public affairs. 

I truly believe that they wanted to bleed some money from the government and thought that this is a good way to do it. The JCC entered an agreement, signed it and now wants to change the agreement to pay themselves also. Is this morally right? 

Who are these experts whom they have chosen? What are their credentials and track record for this kind of work? What jobs have they undertaken that can suggest that they are competent? Can an Independent Senator chosen by the President who in the last few speeches made by him has been lashing out at the government really be independent? Are they politically neutral? 

I do not think that the independent Senator is politically neutral as well as Afra Raymond. When the JCC entered this agreement did they not know that this would cost money. I understand that they want at least six million dollars to do this review. Why should taxpayers pay them a black cent?

It is time to expose these experts lining up to get their hands into the public purse. The Consultants for this project are two of the best as far as my information goes. AECOM and HALCROW, both world renowned. The study was done originally by Trintoplan a well known and respected Caribbean wide consulting firm. 

Who in this team chosen by JCC has the competencies to review their work? It is becoming increasingly clear that even the so called disinterested independent JCC may not be as politically distant as they wish to paint themselves. 

This might very well be an extension of the ploy to destabilize this government and the JCC may well be part of it. They should prove otherwise. At another time I will examine the statements of Afra Raymond and others on the team to analyse their attitude to the government and their penchant for fairness.

\When the march took place in POS on Clause 34 were the JCC and its members there? What opinions did the JCC and/or its members express on this matter? Were they among the protestors? How did Senator Armstorng vote in the Senate when the Bill involving Clause 34 came before the Senate? 

Has the JCC been on a collision path with Government prior to inviting themselves to do this review without cost and in the interest of the nation?

How do you view what has to be considered prejudicial statements by Senator Armstrong that he has not seen the hydrology reports. His statement has already set into the minds of the public that there is something amiss. 

Is this what the review was intended to do. To develop a highly prejudicial view of the public even before the review is completed? Process Raymond Process! Or is this a political attack on the duly elected government because you disagree with the government and wants to continue your attacks despite what the objective evidence will show, and which you know. The CEC and EIA were done!. 

The JCC is today talking about money to review the project. I wonder if it is this same JCC who are also speaking about the right moral approach to procurement. I wonder if this is the same JCC who speaks about process. 
Eh Afra Raymond! 

Is this not the same JCC who wants procurement legislation in Parliament and has been threatening the government about it? 

Give us a break Afra Raymond. You have chosen a team of experts. If you want to do it as your procurement gurus have advised you, then let it be done by competitive tendering? And hell, you pay for it! 

You and the JCC are not as lily white in this matter as you would like the population to believe. Your actions are riddled with inconsistencies. It appears to us out here that this is all about money for the JCC boys parading as the experts.

The government does not have to pay one cent to you or to Senator Armstrong. He volunteered his services. The JCC asked to do the review as a public service. Where in heavens or hell did the issue of payment arise from?

Chandra Harnanan | St John Road via Cipero Road, San Fernando

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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