By Capil Bissoon
Prime Minister Keith Rowley was being dishonest and deliberately mislead the population by saying that the entire Curepe Interchange Project will cost $221.7M.
Is Rowley telling the country that the $221.7M includes the cost of the 37 parcels of land and properties that are residential, commercial, agricultural, state owned and/or privately owned and represents the total value of structure and building and all related costs associated with the relocation of the residents of this area?
These property owners have condemned the Government for forcing them to accept between 1/3 and 1/5 of the value of the land (on the open market) through compulsory acquisition.
One of the principal players in this project is the Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan, who happens to be the largest single owner of Kay Donna Drive-In, one of the acquired properties. Why the secrecy of how much was Sinanan paid for Kay Donna?
Was his prime piece of real estate acquired through compulsory acquisition or was Sinanan paid fair market value?
When a Cabinet Minister simply says he recused himself from these negotiations, on a project that his Ministry is overseeing, then it an insult to the intelligence of all right thinking citizens who are being asked to believe that Sinanan simply left the room when this discussion was taking place but returned to the table and continued being a part of the decision making process.
Keith Rowley has not provided any proof that “over-inflated engineer estimates” at government ministries have cost millions of dollars over the years; in fact, it is these very engineers who have provided the framework for this projectfor the PP Govt or did his Administration seek private sector intervention. If so, what was this cost?
As usual, everyone else is corrupt except of course, the “All ah we tief” PNM.
Rowley and Sinanan just cannot seem to get their information synchronized and this happens when you are not being honest and straightforward.
The Guardian of June 14 2015 reported that the PP Govt had awarded a $400M contract for this very said project. This figure was an all-inclusive – construction of the overpass and the 37 parcels of residential, commercial, agricultural, state and privately-owned land and properties.https://www.guardian.co.tt/news/vincilutchmeesingh-share-400m-curepe-interchange-project-6.2.365631.b98a21ad21.
Keith Rowley is therefore being disingenuous as usual with his political ramajaying that “how could we have approved $530M and today the same thing is being built for $221M? The question is where is that extra $230M going? And who was getting that?”
Where is Keith Rowley getting this figure of $530M? Is the scope of works now being adopted the same as contained in the original contract of June 2015? The devil is in the details!
The Guardian is also reporting that “Sinanan also pointed out the $221M figure was also significantly lower than the $346 Million figure initially allocated by this Government.” http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/curepe-interchange-to-be-completed-by-november-6.2.784701.bb03a9118f.
And to complicate matters, Sinanan boasted the country will save $200M.
Only Sinanan’s maths shows $530M minus $221M as $200M, not $309M.
Or $346M minus $221M is $125M, not $200M.
This is PNM calculations on display!
In the haste to complete this project, the quality of workmanship and materials will be suspect; this Rowley-led PNM Administration has not conceived and built anything in the past 3½ years since it has been in Govt and therefore has no credible track record.
The PNM has a penchant for high profile projects and has never been able to deliver any without incurring massive cost overruns of hundreds of millions of dollars and the Curepe Interchange will be no different.
Billions in cost overruns during the 2002-2010 PNM Administration for the Brian Lara Stadium, Chaguanas Corporation Complex, Legal Affairs Towers, Ministry of Education Towers, International Waterfront Complex, Tobago Hospital, SAPA, NAPA, the Government Campus, the Diplomatic Centre and the Prime Minister’s Residence Complex just to name a few.
That same Administration incurred over $1B in cost overruns in upgrading and refurbishing three projects, The Vanguard Hotel (formerly Hilton Tobago), Tamana E-tech Park in Wallerfield and Hilton Hotel and Conference Centre.
The PNM must never be allowed to forget that it scrapped the infamous GTL Project at Petrotrin after spending over $3B, nor for paying over $550M for a feasibility study on a Raid Rail Project.
While Rowley continues to blame the former PP Govt for his mismanagement, the fact remains the PPG had a history of finishing projects on time with no cost overruns.
The PNM has continually neglected the people while delving in mismanagement, nepotism, corruption and wastage; the PNM will not change; the PNM cannot change.