The Government has launched an investigation into the award of a $299.8 million Udecott contract for the construction of six police stations just four days before the May 24 general election. The firm hired to construct the stations–Bouygues–is now seeking $8.6 million in delay fees. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar made the announcement Friday night as she addressed supporters at the People's Partnership Local Government manifesto launch, Harris Promenade, San Fernando. Persad-Bissessar said the contract was awarded by Udecott four days before the general election for the construction of police stations in Arima, Cumuto, Guapo, Moruga, Maloney and Piarco. The contract, she said, was brought to her attention when the Sweet Briar Street, Maraval-based firm sought payment of $8.6 million in run-wait impact delay costs.
The costs, she explained, were incurred due to the delay in construction. "They were given the contract, then elections were called and they had to wait and the cost of that run-wait impact is $24,150.00 per day per station and not one has started. You are paying as taxpayers $144,900 per day for the six stations," she said. Persad-Bissessar said Attorney General Anand Ramlogan had been instructed to commence an investigation into the contract and report to Cabinet on the matter. "These awards were done on the eve of an election, at a time when there was no sitting board of directors," she said. Persad-Bissessar questioned: "How could you be doing these things and there was no board? Who authorised it? How was it authorised? Why was it authorised? Was there a kickback and how much was that kickback."
The Prime Minister dismissed calls for the PP to stop looking in the past. "Somebody has to go to jail. They don't want us to talk about it (corruption) because somebody know they going to jail. Nothing will stop the law. We will obey the rule of law, we are guided by the rule of law," she said.
PM warns PP of corruption
Persad-Bissessar also sounded a warning to PP ministers and state officials. "None will be sacrosanct, no one will be above the law–and that is inside and outside the People's Partnership. I have said this to every minister. We must never, ever fall into the trap, the corruption, the deceit of the PNM...and if I find one minister, one state board member involved in any graft, any deceit, any corruption they will be gone," she declared. The Prime Minister also dismissed detractors of Canadian Commissioner of Police candidate Dwayne Gibbs. "Does it matter where the CoP comes from once he does his job? He is under contract, if he does not work he's gone," she said.