As my tour of duty as Ambassador of Mexico to Trinidad and Tobago is drawing to a close, I wish to express my gratitude to the authorities and people of this great nation.
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Joint Trade Unions on water plant contract: A shameless act
The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) has accused the People's Partnership Government of being “unscrupulous” over the controversial award of the billion dollar contract to a consortium of companies for the Beetham Water Treatment Plant. The contract was awarded to a consortium of companies that includes Foster Wheeler, Super Industrial Services (SIS) and Hyflux. The trade union group said the award of the contract was yet another “shameless and glaring example of the very unscrupulous nature of this current administration.”
Following a meeting of the executive, the group stated, it intended to make a public statement today on the award of the contract to the consortium whose bid was far above the competitor by $400 million. A statement from the National Gas Company (NGC), in response to the allegations of impropriety, said SIS submitted the tender package on the consortium's behalf and its bid was approximately US$167 million.
NGC's statement said of the two companies who submitted tender packages, one company quoted approximately US$95 million with numerous variables proposed that would have eventually escalated the overall cost. A total of 14 companies bought tender packages while two submitted completed tender packages but 12 of them dropped out due to limited time to send in their proposals.
On Monday at a press briefing Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley alleged that corruption was involved in the award of contract and called on President Anthony Carmona to intervene. Rowley claimed the bidding process was not fair and it was a “rape” on the country's Treasury. He also said a list of 16 bidders were reduced to two companies — SIS and Atlatec — and the bidding process was conducted in such a way as to “drive away” the other bidders, many of which were more experienced than SIS.
NGC's response was that the tenders submitted were evaluated by a cross-functional team of six experts from both the NGC and National Energy (NE). The company said that team, following a thorough review and site visits, made its recommendations to NGC’s Management Tenders Evaluation Committee (MTEC) and the MTEC reviewed the recommendations and made its own recommendation to the NGC’s Board Tenders Committee (BTC).
The release also said the BTC subsequently reviewed the submission and forwarded its recommendation for award to the NGC board of directors, following which the final award would have been made. When contacted yesterday a spokesperson for SIS declined to comment on Rowley's allegations, saying it is observing what was happening and would issue a statement on the matter at another time.
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