Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley must dismiss public office holders Faris Al Rawi, Noel Garcia and Margaret Chow following their respective major indictments in the $80 million Las Alturas housing scandal.
The report of the Commission of Enquiry into the project has confirmed the direct complicity of Mr. Garcia and Ms. Chow in the decision to utilise taxpayers’ money in construction of public housing on volatile lands without official approvals.
Dr. Rowley has deliberately tried to mislead the nation by reading the back jacket cover and giving the impression that he knows the whole book.
The independent investigation has determined that Mr. Garcia was guilty of “civil liabilities” in his then-role as Managing Director of Housing Development Corporation (HDC). Today, Mr. Garcia is Chairman of Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDECOTT), with an even larger taxpayer-funded budget than HDC.
Ms. Chow was deemed the “change agent” in charge of Las Alturas. She is currently Managing Director of UDECOTT.
Mr. Al Rawi was a Director of HDC at the time of the decision to construct the housing apartments on unstable soil and an abandoned quarry. He is directly implicated in the Las Alturas scandal despite Dr. Rowley’s protestations, denials and blatant cover-up attempts. Mr. Al Rawi is today Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago, guiding critical policy and legislative matters.
Dr. Rowley must hold Mr. Al Rawi, Mr. Garcia and Ms. Chow directly responsible for the Las Alturas disgrace, and promptly remove them from public office and from any positions that permit them to spend taxpayers’ dollars and direct policies.
So far, Dr. Rowley’s handling of the Las Alturas outrage is similar to that toward the $3 billion World Gas-to-Liquids (WGTL) scandal. Notably, a major proponent in the WGTL matter was recently granted a national award. All other guilty officials have been exonerated by the Rowley regime, with certain figures still involved in national policy-making.
Dr. Rowley must take decisive action on the Las Alturas scandal. Equally, Trinidad and Tobago must demand accountability and probity on the matter.
Dr. Roodal Moonilal,
Member of Parliament for Oropouche East,
Former Minister of Housing and Urban Development.