A qualified apology by Minister of State in the Ministry of the People, Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, over comments she made about People’s National Movement (PNM) leader Dr Keith Rowley has failed to q
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PNM had similar plan in ’07—Anil
Sports Minister Anil Roberts says while Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley is accusing the Government of bid rigging in the tendering award for the Beetham Waste Water Plant contract, Rowley was also part of a government in 2007 that approved almost $700 million for a similar programme. He made the comment during yesterday’s sitting of the House of Representatives during debate on the motion for the Prime Minister to stop the award of the contract for the plant.
“I hold up a Cabinet Minute of November 3, 2007, two days before a national general election. The PNM Cabinet, including the MP for Diego Martin West, agreed to the implementation of a water re-use programme at the Beetham Waste Water Treatment Facility at the estimated cost of $698 million, roughly $700 million and this is in 2007. They did this in the dead of night when people were thinking of voting,” Roberts said. He asked Rowley if he had any interest in a waste water plant in Beetham.
Rowley got up and replied: “I have no interest in a waste water plant in T&T.” Roberts then read from a Hansard document dated Friday, April 28, 2000, in the debate of the award of the Desalination contract. He said that during that debate, Rowley stated he was the consultant for a group of investors and business people who sought his services as a geologist and they went to then Minister Ganga Singh with regard to the upgrade of the Sea Lots Sewer Treatment Plant.
“I know why the MP for Diego Martin West had a problem. He had a group of investors that he was advising and they were dealing with a sewer treatment plant. I gave him an opportunity to declare all interests,” he said. During the break Roberts told the media that the accusations Rowley is making about alleged bid ridding in the award of the contract for the Beetham Waste Water Plant by the Government was unfounded and will only harm T&T’s image abroad.
“The Opposition must be more responsible because the country’s reputation is at hand,” he said. “When the Leader of the Opposition makes accusations they must be based on facts and evidence. “Dr Rowley is casting aspersions on our country which will impact on the growth of the economy. We expect three per cent growth in 2014. If he continues with these spurious claims then investors from abroad will be a little more careful on whether they want to invest.”
He accused Rowley and the opposition of wasting the Government’s time with the debate.
“I am here defending spurious, ridiculous, nonsensical allegations on my Government. I am here refuting their claims. He (Rowley) is quoting the Guardian newspaper today, but yesterday he is saying it is the worst. This is all because he never got a blue light,” he said. Before he started his contribution, Roberts also claimed to have written a letter of complaint to House Speaker Wade Mark after being accosted and abused by PNM hooligans outside the House.