Calls were being made for Calder Hart to be extradited to Trinidad and Tobago after he fled to Florida hours after resigning from the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd (Udecott) and other state boards. According to United National Congress (UNC) chairman Jack Warner, the Government and Immigration authorities must ensure that no persons involved and implicated in the report of the Commission of Enquiry into Udecott and the local construction sector were allowed "to flee our shores." Warner, who is attending to Fifa business in Colombia, added that extradition arrangements should be initiated with haste to have such individuals "brought back to face justice."
He was responding to reports that Hart, his wife Sherrine and his daughter Jean took a flight to Florida after Hart tendered his resignation from Udecott and four other state boards. Hart's resignation came less than 24 hours after High Court Judge Justice Mira Dean-Armorer on Friday rejected requests from Hart's lawyers to stop the report of the commission of enquiry to be submitted. Warner called for the report to be laid in the Parliament and for it to be debated in "the public's glare forthwith." He noted that the report should be delivered to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to ensure that the relevant criminal proceedings were initiated.?The Canadian-born Hart came under heavy fire after they were awarded more than $800 million in Udecott contracts to a Malaysian firm linked to at least one of his wife's relatives.
Warner condemned Prime Minister Patrick Manning's failure "to nip the corruption in the bud" at Udecott and called on Manning to announce a general election "without delay." "The Government must face the electorate on this issue...The nation must be given the opportunity to decide on this issue which has plagued a country in dire need of change," Warner said. "The very disturbing allegations of corruption against Udecott must be thoroughly investigated. We (the UNC) also call for an urgent forensic audit and investigation in every project handled by Udecott and its affiliates." He emphasised that each "civic-minded citizen" called for Hart's resignation since years ago, after allegations of rampant corruption at Udecott started to appear in the public domain regardless that the Prime Minister "paid no heed."
"In fact, PM Manning had publicly defended the Udecott chairman. The will of the people has finally prevailed. Hart's resignation is a victory for every citizen of this country," Warner said. Warner stressed that Hart's resignation was "not enough" and he reiterated calls for the entire Udecott board to resign. Among the other directors included businessman Dr Krishna Bahadoorsingh, Independent senator Michael Annisette, attorney Anthony Cherry and Wendell Dottin. (KM)