Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Rowley claims government silent on US$100M lawsuit; not true says AG

Keith Rowley claimed on Monday that the government of Trinidad and Tobago is facing a US$100 million lawsuit resulting from the cancellation of of the Altruint Smelter plant.

Speaking at a news conference at his office the opposition leader said when the government cancelled the US$400 million plant it did not disclose the full implications and consequences of its decision.

The previous government had entered into a contract for building the plant at La Brea with a Venezuelan company, Rowley said.

He said his office has been advised that the minority shareholder in the Alutrint plant is "currently exercising its right under the contract to arbitration wherein it is making substantial claims against the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for its arbitrary cancellation of that contract."
He added, "My information is that this arbitration is taking place in the United States and that the claims being made are well upwards of US$100 million, being prosecuted by high-quality lawyers of the minority shareholder.
He claimed as well that the government has sent "two or three lawyers" to represent T&T's interest.
“We are asking Government to tell the taxpayers what is happening with Alutrint, what liabilities we are exposed to, what are the claims being made against us, who is representing us and where the arbitration is at this point in time,” Rowley said. 
Rowley also referred to comments made last week by the minister of public utilities about surplus power from the La Brea generating plant. Government is paying $43 million a month for the surplus power. Rowley said that is because of the cancellation of the Altruint project. 
"So not only did we not get the outcome of the benefits of selling aluminium products, we are now having to pay that kind of money for something that we were contracted to take, but don’t need at this time—$43 million a month we have to pay as a result of a political decision. And the Government is silent about this.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan responded to Rowley's claims by saying that the opposition leader's charges are irresponsible.
The Express newspaper quoted the AG say saying Rowley is making these claims to score ""cheap political points" while compromising the legal position of the State in a matter that is sub judice. 
"It is reminiscent of his fulminations concerning the OPV arbitration when he was the prophet of gloom and doom, predicting we would lose and even went so far as to announce that we had in fact lost," Ramlogan added.
“He boasted that we would have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to BAE and even identified where the funds were coming from, hidden in secret line item from the Ministry of National Security’s budget. 
"All of that, of course, turned out to be completely false and inaccurate. As he well knows, it is inappropriate and improper for us to discuss a matter that is sub judice and I therefore do not wish to be drawn into committing such a breach."
Ramlogan said the government did not hide anything, noting that he spoke about it in Parliament. "It is not news. It has been ongoing for about a year," 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