My sisters and brothers Dr. Rowley is known for telling stories that have no bearing of facts and the truth.
Some of you might remember the time when he suddenly discovered a secret door in his office.
Or when he fabricated a story about a cabinet minister making racist comments about staff at a diplomatic office in New York.
And who can forget the bogus emails that he used to try to smear and malign me, and members of the PP cabinet?
And now he wants you to believe another LIE.
He and the MOF want us to believe that the PNM had nothing to do with the contract for the highway to Point Fortin.
Here is the lie he told Parliament on Friday:
“The PNM has absolutely nothing to do with the award of the contract to OAS.”
You hear lie? That is LIE!
Let me tell you the truth about that contract so we can put this matter to rest.
Colm Imbert as Works and Infrastructure minister approved OAS.
There are official documents available at NIDCO that have the full details. And Rowley knows it.
According to official documents ads for the project were placed in the local and international media in February 2010 and tenders closed on May 7, 2010. (Who was in government then?)
Officials reviewed 29 proposals and made a short list of three comprising (a) China Railway Construction Corporation Limited; (b) Construtora OAS; and (c) GLF Construction Corporation.
On May 13, 2010 the Tenders Evaluation Committee recommended that NIDCO enter into negotiations with Construtora OAS and sent the recommendation to Colm Imbert, the Ministry of Works and Transport. (Who was in govt then)
The day after the general election – May 25, 2010 – while the PNM government was still legally in office, NIDCO informed OAS by letter that it was the preferred contractor.
The PNM did all the work, handled the tenders and after it lost the election and was still legally in government it went ahead and approved OAS.
The fundamental point here is that all the planning and tenders evaluation and recommendation and notification of the preferred bidder (OAS) was done under the PNM.
The PNM-appointed board of NIDCO headed by Keisha Ince completed the process and wrote to OAS on MAY 25, 2010, advising the Brazilian company that it was the preferred contractor.
Rowley and Imbert are saying that the PNM had nothing to do with it because that letter from NIDCO to OAS went out on May 25, 2010.
On that date, the PNM was still in office and remained in office until I was sworn in as Prime Minister on the afternoon of May 26th 2010.
The board that wrote to OAS on May 25th was a PNM appointed board and Imbert was the line minister.
MY government followed the accepted democratic tradition of continuity after the change of government.
Unlike the PNM, we did not scrap the project. We continued with it and completed the entire contractual process in July 2011.
THIS WAS A PNM DEVELOPED AND APPROVED PROJECT, DOWN TO CHOOSING THE CONTRACTOR and establishing the budget.
Don’t fall for the PNM propaganda.
They recommended OAS and the PP accepted their recommendation and completed the process in the interest of the people of this country.
We understood the need for the highway and the benefit for tens of thousands in that part of the country and we worked with the plan they had developed.
The PP Administration kept the project moving even though the PNM-appointed NIDCO Board recommended OAS as they were going out the door.
The question we should be asking of them is this: why they were so eager to sign on with OAS when they knew that the people had elected a new government.
And now that the lie has been exposed, Min Imbert And when he was exposed, Minister Imbert told TV6 this morning that he can be held accountable for what he is doing now, but he cannot be held accountable for his tenure of office as a Minister before 2010.
So he is seeking to wiggle out of taking responsibility for recommending OAS to build the Pt. Fortin highway that he is not accountable for something done when he was a Minister of Works but that he is accountable for what he does now as Minister of Finance.
This twisted tale of deceit continues.
On April 1, (All Fools Day) Stuart Young came to Parliament to tell the story of the contract with OAS and what a tale it was.
Stuart claimed that we “burdened tax payers with the additional expenses of over $2 billion to pay new contractors to complete the portion of the Highway excised from OAS’ contract.”
This is Stuart trying to read Contract Addendum No. 2 signed beteen NIDCO and OAS.
And he got it completely wrong.
Contract Addendum No. 2 maintained the overall budget to build the highway to Point Fortin.
What Contract Addendum No. 2 did was remove portions of highway construction from OAS’ responsibility and gave it to nominated sub-contractors whom would be chosen by NIDCO and the project engineer AECOM (who was hired by the PNM in 2009).
Some monies that would have been paid to OAS are now to be paid to the nominated sub-contractors.
In fact, the Addendum made clear that the overall project cost would not be changed due to this re-routing of works through the following contract recital: “Whereas the Employer (NIDCO) wishes to amend the scope of the Contract, by value engineering, such that the overall project’s budget is not exceeded…”
How the Number 2 attorney in the Attorney General’s Office could get something so basic so wrong is beyond me.
That he could just mis-read a contract and add $2 Billion in cost is terrifying, maybe he should seek legal advice before he opens his mouth.
I only hope Stuart was purposefully attempting to mislead the public because the alternative is too scary to imagine.