Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says he will be seeking the Cabinet’s input regarding a request to remove Value Added Tax (VAT) from literary texts.
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Ish bids for airport contracts
More than seven years after businessman Ishwar Galbaransingh was committed to stand trial for the Piarco Airport Inquiry, his company—Singh’s Auto Rentals Company Ltd— is attempting to win the bid for the $9 million car-leasing airport contracts. The contracts are to provide rented cars for the Piarco International Airport and the Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson Airport (formerly Crowne Point Airport). The contracts were tendered for six to eight weeks ago, Amrit Maharaj confirmed. Tendering has been closed.Galbaransingh confirmed to Sunday Guardian yesterday that his company submitted tenders for both bids at the Airports Authority of T&T (AATT). “Yes, Singh’s Auto Rental Company Ltd is a tenderer. The company has been in business for the last 43 years. We submitted a two-envelope tender: one on technical specifications and one on pricing. In relation to Tobago, similarly we tendered for the vehicle leasing contract also and we submitted our tenders complying with every single requirement on the document,” Galbaransingh said yesterday. He indicated, however, that the company was being run by his children since he is facing charges.
Sunday Guardian learnt that both contracts are for the leasing of 55 cars over a three-year period at a cost of $225,000 monthly. The Piarco International Airport contract is valued at $8.127 million for 44 cars while the Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson Airport (formerly Crowne Point Airport) contract is for ten cars at a cost of $1.194 million. On March 30, Galbaransingh was granted bail with businessman Steve Ferguson after being incarcerated for nine months. It was Attorney General Anand Ramlogan who signed the extradition order granting the United States Government permission to extradite them in connection with fraud charges. Both men face a total of 95 charges relating to the construction of the controversial $1.6 billion Piarco Airport Terminal building. Both men have since appealed the extradition.
No-confidence motion against AATT chairman
Meanwhile, contention is brewing between the AATT’s Chairman Vaman Bajnath and board members. This became evident on Friday. Copies of the authority’s board minutes obtained by Sunday Guardian revealed that six board members moved a motion of no-confidence against Bajnath. According to the minutes, board member Gary Kalliecharan expressed no confidence in Bajnath to run the board effectively. Voting in favour of the motion were other board members—Dyanand Maharaj, Suresh Ramdial, Emile Baptiste, Diane Hadad and Ian Gomez. The other members—Felix Hernandez, Clyde Adams and Ruth van Lare voted against the motion.
Bajnath: I will give up my job for my integrity
When contacted yesterday, Bajnath refused to comment on whether a no-confidence motion was moved against him. Asked if he was going to step down as chairman, Bajnath replied: “I would not allow anything to come in my way that I think is unlawful. If I stand for something that I know is right I would maintain my stance. I would walk away from any job or anyone if my integrity is being comprised or if I know I am being taken for a ride. I would step down if I have to. “My integrity in life is most important to me and I always uphold throughout my life good business principles, and I uphold strong business ethical values and I am always working for the good of any company beyond the job I do.” Asked if he was being pressured to make certain decisions, Bajnath only said: “My job is service to my country. My employees and a management team see me as a person to lead them with integrity. I am a very independent man. My goals are much higher in life than to get involved in foolishness. “The thesis that I am currently writing on is to improve the aviation in the Caribbean. I am not going to sacrifice my research for foolishness; I am definitely not going to do that. My integrity is first and foremost in my life and I would not surrender it for anything else.”
Devant: I thought Ish is in prison
Maharaj, when contacted by Sunday Guardian yesterday said: “I thought the airport authority deals with airports I did not know they renting cars. I have to investigate this. I asked the board to inform me what they are dealing with but I have any information as yet. “I know about the tension on the board and I am trying to guide them. I know nothing about the airport dealing with renting cars. Ish still around I thought he is in prison in the United States or Canada,” the Minister quipped.