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Volney claims ‘cabal’ thwarting efforts
Justice Minister Herbert Volney is appealing for help regarding what he describes as an “apparent cabal” in the Works Ministry which he claims is doling out contracts to certain private firms. Charging the situation is frustrating government’s dealings in his constituency, Volney said he is so fed up, he would not stop angry constituents from blockading his constituency’s space from “outside” contractors. “There are people (in the Works Ministry) in whom old habits remain entrenched from over the years and this situation has not changed,” Volney added. Volney’s comment came among others by ministers interviewed by T&T Guardian concerning their views about Government and allegations in an e-mail circulating about alleged UNC “issues.” Volney said his only concern about Government was that there was a “tightness” on the release of funds on a timely basis for projects.
“We have a parallel ‘government’ in the public sector frustrating government’s dealings and it has to be dealt with,” Volney added. Volney alleged that some of the contracts given to outside contractors in St Joseph were then further subcontracted, in whole or part, to locals without any supervision. “This has led to poor and sub standard work and has aroused the chagrin and ire of my constituents,” Volney added.
Volney claimed, for example, one company received contracts for a St Helena project which was sub-contracted. He expressed concern about the work. The justice minister also noted issues with drainage projects in Maitagual in his area—which were also sub-contracted by the contractor—where certain drains were being built on private development and rivers were “running into dirt,” he added. Volney said Works Minister Jack Warner is not unaware of the situation but that his hands were tied, lest he be accused of ministerial interference.
Volney said workers in the constituency could do the job more cheaply and that he had promised constituents employment. Volney, who said he would not do anything to discredit Government or party, added that he admired Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar’s leadership. He said he wanted to leave a legacy in St Joseph and was sure the work he was doing would see him returned for a second term. Works Minister Warner didn’t answer repeated calls. Works’ Permanent Secretary Cheryl Blackman sent a message that the minister’s aide would reply on the issue. The T&T Guardian was then told Warner would answer calls, but he did not. (GA)