Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley should be held personally liable for the $30 million debt owed by a Chinese construction company to the Housing Development Corporation.
So, too, must Noel Garcia, who chaired Housing Development Corporation at the time of the failed Las Alturas project, and the discredited Calder Hart, the PNM Chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago.
The construction scandal at Morvant took place during the tenure of a PNM Government, with Rowley as Minister of Housing.
He should, therefore, be made to pay the $30 million fine which has been imposed upon contractor China Jiangsu International Corporation for shoddy work that led to the collapse of two housing towers.
Jiangsu has long returned to its home base in an eastern coastal province, and would not honour the order imposed by Justice David Harris.
The Las Alturas project was undertaken despite expert technical advice given to the PNM Government about the critically unsound quality of the construction site.
A Commission of Enquiry subsequently determined that Hart should be held accountable and liable for the project’s failure and cost to taxpayers.
With China Jiangsu no longer within Trinidad and Tobago’s jurisdiction, Rowley should be ordered to repay the money to taxpayers.
Failing that, the funds should be withdrawn from his pension.
It is extremely disturbing that Rowley, who was unable to properly manage a housing project, is now overseeing multi-billion contracts with public funds.
This is taking place in an environment without transparent procurement measures.
Holding Rowley liable for the Las Alturas scandal should also have the effect of making him become responsible and accountable for the use of precious taxpayers’ money.