Monday, January 28, 2013

AG: Why no one complained when PNM awarded contracts?

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan wants to know why the media raises questions only when the government awards contracts to certain companies while it remains silent when others get big contracts.

He raised the question in reference to a Sunday Express story about the award of a $232.5 million contract to Super Industrial Services (SIS).

SIS has won several contracts but the government has also given contracts to contractors who worked for and were close to the People's National Movement (PNM).

This is the issue Ramlogan commented on in a story published in Monday's Express.

"The large majority of contracts awarded has not necessarily changed hands, whether it is prisoner transport, construction, or financial consulting," Ramlogan said.

He added that the issue of who contracts are awarded to "must be seen as a power play by desperate commercial interests that are seeking to protect and preserve their monopoly on lucrative work in the State sector." 

Ramlogan said, "This group is seeking to shut out small players and newcomers to protect their turf. You hear no complaint when they get a contract but you hear a cacophony when anyone outside their circle gets anything." 

Ramlogan acknowledged that "talk has been around" that SIS is close to the government.

However he stated that the talk has also been around "that a group of Port of Spain businessmen from a certain community financed the People's National Movement (PNM) campaign in Tobago and in the last general election. No one expressed concern when they received contracts from the PNM and continue to receive contracts from this Government." 

The AG explained that the Constitution gives each citizen and corporate citizen the right to freedom of association and freedom of political affiliation and expression. 

"So companies are free to support political parties, but that is not a ground for discrimination because that will expose the State to litigation. The focus must be on the process and the process must be fair and transparent, that you cannot discriminate based on political bias and perception," he said.

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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