Four properties were rented by the Government before and after the general election for up to five years, at a total cost of some $55 million. This has prompted political and social activist Devant Maharaj, who made the discovery, to question the wisdom of signing such costly contracts in the midst of a general election. The Ministry of Public Administration confirmed two of the office space lease-rentals on May 20, a third on May 26 and the fourth on May 27. The general election was held on May 24. Maharaj recalled that then Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who was elected Prime Minister, had recommended there be no business dealings involving the public purse amid the election.
"I am not questioning the propriety of the contracts," Maharaj stated yesterday, "but the timing, especially in light of the fact that there was a regime change." The major office lease-rental would cost taxpayers $48 million over the next five years. In a document of May 20, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Administration, said the Cabinet had agreed to the rent-lease of 12,815.8 square metres at Aranjuez Estate to accommodate the Police Service. The monthly rent is $800,000. The facility includes parking space for 226 vehicles. The leaser, Aran 88 Ltd, is being paid at $5.80 a square foot.
The other agreement confirmed on May 20 is at a cost of $2,340,000 over three years. The respective property is at 141 Long Circular Road Maraval, owned by GAL Holdings Ltd. The government is paying $65,000 a month for 516.5 square metres. The rental value is $11.70 a square foot. The property is to accommodate Caribbean Telecommunications Union. A document from the ministry's permanent secretary on May 26 indicated that a property at 65 Maracas Royal Road, Maracas, was being rented for three years at a monthly sum of $39,000. The total cost of the arrangement is $1.4 million.
The air-conditioned property will accommodate the Police Service.
McEacharane's Rental and Transport Service owns the property. A value of $7.14 a square foot has been placed. An air-conditioned property at 2 Tumpuna Park, Arima, was confirmed in a document of May 27 from the PS as being lease-rented. The agreement is for three years, at a cost of $95,000 a month, or $2.80 a square foot. The building's owner is listed as Tumpuna Park Ltd.