Oropouche East Member of Parliament Dr Roodal Moonilal is today rebutting the statements being made by Minister of Planning and Development Camille Robinson-Regis that the 230 units constructed by the HDC in Greenvale Development Park, La Horquetta, were done during the period 2010-2015 during the People’s Partnership Administration.
In a release issued today, Dr Moonilal called on the PNM to take full ownership of this project saying that it is well-documented in the minutes of the Housing Development Company (HDC) Board Meeting of March 2005, under the Chairmanship of Andre Monteil, that the HDC approved the construction of these 230 units and the $97M contract was awarded to Trinity Housing Limited which is owned by Mr. John Rahael of the Rahael Group of Companies.
Dr Moonilal further said that it was under the Patrick Manning-led PNM Administration, in which current Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was the Minister of Housing that this project began, even without the appropriate approvals from the Town and Country Division.
Dr Moonilal, the Former Minister of Housing & Urban Development, said that all the construction projects during Dr Rowley’s tenure as Housing Minister had exorbitant cost over-runs.
He gave a breakdown of 5 contracts that were awarded to Trinity Housing Limited by the HDC under Dr Rowley’s stewardship as the Line Minister where the cost overruns on each were in the tens of millions of dollars:
1. Greenvale Development Park, La Horquetta, 230 units; original contract value – $97M; final cost – $253M; cost overrun $156M or 156% over the original contract
2. Orchard Gardens in Pleasantville, 138 units; cost overrun – $50M
3. Corinth Hills, Corinth, 138 units; cost overrun – $128M
4. East Grove Curepe (not yet finished) 180 units; cost overrun – $64M;
5. Bon Air Commercial Centre, original value of the contract – $13M; final cost – $32M; cost overrun – $19M or 146% over the original contract
Dr Moonilal said that when he assumed office as Minister of Housing & Urban Development in May 2010, most of these units were either completed or nearing completion and he was tasked with simply handing out the keys to the recipients.
He also said during the People’s Partnership Administration, there was never any catastrophic flooding along the East/West corridor as the country witnessed recently because both the Central and Local Government bodies were mandated to ensure that proper preventative maintenance programs were done during the dry season.
Dr Moonilal accused the Government of once again trying to shift the responsibility for its gross mismanagement.
He said that this Administration has no preventative maintenance programmes in place and called Prime Minister Rowley’s explanation that “the water does not obey engineers” as a most ludicrous statement.