THE EDITOR: This is an open letter to the board, management and staff of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (Udecott). As a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, I would like to express my gratitude for your hard work and dedication over the last few years.
In 2010, Udecott was the most infamous state enterprise to exist in our beloved country. The report of the Uff Commission seemed to do irreparable damage to the company’s reputation.
Three years later, the company has implemented all 45 recommendations directly referring to Udecott made by the Uff Inquiry.
Previously, there existed a lack of proper governance structure, accountability and internal controls which promoted an eat-ah-food syndrome. In fact, even the former Executive Chairman Calder Hart is on record in the inquiry of admitting that he was told he did not need to report to his Line Minister.
Today, Udecott has a separate Office of Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, an open tender system and an independent tenders committee which is not chaired by the Chairperson of the Board, maintaining proper accountability and oversight over operations.
The organisation has regained public confidence over the last few years and has been entrusted with a mandate of over 75 projects totalling over $1.3 billion without an allegation of wrongdoing. Such a feat must be praised.
The new Udecott has successfully completed the relocation of Parliament to the Waterfront Complex and the retrofitting of the Chancery Lane Administrative Complex into the San Fernando Teaching Hospital, all within budget and on-time. In 2013, Udecott is no longer plagued by allegations of corruption and wrong doing. It is one of the highest performing state enterprises and deservedly so. After all, performance beats ole talk anytime.
I must commend Udecott’s Line Minister, Dr Moonilal and Chairman, Jearlean John for working together for the benefit of Trinidad and Tobago. When one considers Ms John was appointed by the previous administration and retained, it suggests what can be achieved when we forget partisan politics, place country first, work together and make decisions that are beneficial to our future development.
As a taxpayer, I express my gratitude again to all the employees of Udecott, its Line Ministry and the Prime Minister as they have protected our interests by ensuring accountability and transparency with our tax dollars.