“Trinidad and Tobago,” I patiently repeated for the second time.
“What?” She frustratingly retorted.
Ernesto Abraham, director of Dachin Commercial Development Company Ltd said he is disturbed by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley’s description of the granting of land to MovieTowne owner Derek Chin by the Government as “grand theft.”
In an open letter to Rowley dated July 30, Abraham referred to a T&T Guardian article of July 23.
Abraham said he was “disturbed” and “disappointed” by the statements attributed to Rowley “and that Dachin Commercial Development Company Ltd’s managing director, Derek Chin, should have specifically mentioned in connection with an allegation of theft of state lands.”
“The statements are grossly inaccurate and misleading and also constitute a direct attack on the reputation and public image of Chin who is an eminent public figure who is also well known to you personally, having served previously as one of your campaign managers when you ran for the PNM leadership against Patrick Manning inn the late 1990s.”
Last October, the Minister of Planning and the Economy Dr Bhoe Tewarie received legal advice from the Attorney General’s Office which gave the green light to the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) to lease land at Invaders Bay, Port-of-Spain, for a private billion-dollar project. The advice gave Udecott the authority to sublease the land to three developers who had been chosen by the ministry after a sole selective tendering process.
The AG had sought legal advice on the matter from Sir Fenton Ramsahoye, SC, since 2012, amidst concerns raised by the Joint Consultative Council (JCC), representing the construction industry, about the cloak of secrecy over the project and attempts to get information on it from the Government.
Abraham said Dachin has always been interested in the development of land at Invaders Bay as it is a “natural extension” of the current MovieTowne facility.
He said MovieTowne has added value to the area and Dachin has been negotiating with the ministry for a small portion of the Invaders Bay lands since the majority was not included in the initial tender process undertaken by the Ministry of Planning. He said Dachin’s plan for the land is to create an innovative real-estate development that will facilitate substantial commercial, financial, residential and entertainment options for the nationals of T&T.
Abraham said Dachin was invited to be part of the tendering process established by the Ministry of Planning for divestment of the lands.
“Dachin’s proposal was submitted in accordance with the permitted rules, and after the evaluation process was completed, it emerged as the highest rated proposal. In the circumstances, both Dachin and I take exception of the purported assertion we have somehow engaged in the theft of the Invaders Bay lands. Such a claim is patently untrue.”
Abraham called on Rowley to apologise for his “highly inflammatory comments.”
“If however, the statement was not made by you, it is hoped that you would use this information provided in this letter to make a public comment clarifying the PNM’s position on this matter,” he added.