Given the political heat surrounding Ish Galbaransingh and allegations of bribery over Section 34, senior members of Government are still insisting he remains free to bid for State projects.
Galbaransingh won the bid for the construction of the $14 million Brickfield Packing House which was opened on Monday in Tabaquite. His company Aztec Asphalt Pavers Ltd was responsible for completing the facility in record time.
In an interview yesterday, Works Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan said he did not agree that the UNC should distance itself from Galbaransingh and his company in light of allegations by ILP leader Jack Warner that businessman Steve Ferguson allegedly paid $8 million in bribes to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Warner was expected to provide evidence of the alleged bribes in a press conference yesterday but it was postponed.
In an email, Warner said an additional piece of information had surfaced and needed to be verified. He also said the inclement weather would pose a difficulty for some persons who wished to attend the press conference.
Galbaransingh, in an interview, said his attorneys were reviewing Warner's accusations.
However, Rambachan said despite the issue, Galbaransingh should not be banned from bidding for projects.
"Those were public bids and if Galbaransingh wins the bid, he cannot be denied because he is free to bid and tender for any project," Rambachan said.
He added: "I don't think the UNC should distance themselves from him at all. He had a company that was existing way before and after the Piarco airport project."
Rambachan could not provide details of the tendering process and directed questions to Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj.
Contacted on his cellphone yesterday, Maharaj said he also disagreed with the notion that Galbaransingh should be sidelined because of the allegations.
He added: "As far as I am aware his company tendered like everybody else. Whatever tender rules existed he emerged as the successful bidder.
"Why should we distance ourselves? Is it that he is not allowed to do business in Trinidad? Should we terminate any projects for which he has won a bid?
"What is the basis of the discrimination against him. If we do this we can open up ourselves to litigation?" Maharaj asked.
He also denied knowledge of the tendering process, saying it was handled by the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (Namdevco).
"The details of implementation and execution was done by Namdevco. I didn't even know Galbaransingh's company was doing this project," Maharaj said.
He directed questions to Namdevco's CEO Ganesh Gangapersad, who assured that Aztec Pavers won the contract because it had the lowest bid.
He said he was out of office and could not provide details of the tenders but would do so when he got in office today.