Saturday, September 28, 2013

T&T won't do business with SNC Lavalin

Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal told Parliament on Friday the Trinidad and Tobago cabinet took a decision on Thursday that it would not have any contractual arrangements with SNC-Lavalin to build a hospital in Penal.

Moonilal made the comment in responding to an opposiition motion that called on the government not to have any dealings withn the Canadian mega corporation. 

The motion by the Member for Diego Martin North East urges the government to terminate all existing contracts with SNC-Lavalin for the hospital project and to cease and desist from entering into any future contractual relationships with SNC-Lavalin or any of its affiliates.

It further asked that the procurement process for this hospital and all similar future projects in Trinidad and Tobago be subject to open and transparent competitive tendering.

In his presentation Imbert referred to media reports outlining SNC-Lavalin's problems with corruption and bribery of public officials both in Canada and internationally. All of what he reported had been in the public domain and reported by various media, including JYOTI.

However he omitted one report, which Moonilal pointed to in his opening remarks - one from the Huffington Post headlined "Trinidad and Tobago Taught Canada an Anti-Corruption Lesson". Moonilal quoted from the article, which quoted both Moonilal and Imbert and concluded: 

"The SNC-Lavalin Penal Hospital deal could not pass the smell test. It was untendered, secret, and guaranteed by Canadian taxpayers. And therein lies the root of the problem...Trinidad and Tobago lawmakers had the good sense to see that. Why can't the Canadian government?

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Moonilal also noted some other ommissions by Imbert, such as the fact that the previous Manning administration had engaged the same company, SNC-Lavalin for a $4.5 billion (TT) project at the Petrotrin refinery. 

The minister made the point to show that while Imbert was saying that SNC-Lavalin's record shows a pattern of corrupt dealings and bribery of public officials over several years, the former cabinet minister left out that the fact the government of which he was a part had dealings with the same same company.

Moonilal wondered whether there had been corruption then.

With respect to government to government contracts, Mooonilal stated that there are always benefits such as transfer of technology and low interest rates on financing projects. 

He said the government had considered all the factors before deciding that it would not do business with SNC Lavalin, noting that it does not make decisions on the basis on "googled" or other media reports. 

No vote was taken as the House was adjourned to a date to be fixed.

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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