Super Industrial Services Ltd (SISL) is now seeking to outsource the construction work on the $1.6 billion Beetham Water Recycling Project. A confidential tender document, obtained by the Sunday Guardian, showed the Couva-based SISL was seeking to retain other companies to begin the hefty project. The bid documents carry a deadline date of September 5, 2014, for all submissions.
The contentious project has started even as the Opposition People's National Movement (PNM) has called for a Commission of Enquiry (CoE) into the project and its award to SISL. The Joint Consultative Committee also called for the project to be halted.
The project was awarded to SISL on February 28, just before the long Carnival weekend.
In the seven-page Instruction to Bid document, SISL detailed a ten-point scope of works which included everything from a bulk chemical storage area to external works and landscaping.While questions have been raised about SISL's ability to handle the range and scope of the massive project, new information reveals that SISL is currently seeking to outsource the contract, becoming instead the project manager for the $1.6 billion project.
"In accordance with its contract with the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC), SISL is required to design and build a water recycling facility adjacent to the existing Beetham Waste Water Treatment Plant (BWWTP), together with the associated pipelines and water storage facilities," the bid contract stated.The contract also noted that the requisite works is expected to cross three major roads on central Trinidad and two rivers, the Caroni and the Guayamere.
"It has been specified by NGC that the pipeline be laid underground which will require HDD (Horizontal Directional Drilling) at the major water crossings," the document stated.According to the Instruction to Bidders, the sub-contractors must respond within two days of the delivery of the bid documents."No subletting of work is authorised," it states.
The document is also prefaced with a strict confidentiality clause which debars the hired contractor from making any "statements to the media" or "disclosing any information to any unauthorised person(s) whether on or off duty, during or long after their period of assignment to the BWWRP facilities."
When the PNM had called for the project to be halted, Opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley wrote to President Anthony Carmona on March 10, 2014, asking him to use his authority to "investigate and call upon" Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to explain the circumstances and award by the National Gas Company/WASA of a contract for the Design and Build, Operation and Maintenance of the Beetham Water Recycling Plant together with the associated pipelines and water storage facilities to SISL.
The Sunday Guardian e-mailed SISL's project manager Joachim Reinert and one of the South-based companies listed on the bid documents. There was no response.The Sunday Guardian also texted and called Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine for further clarification on the project, but he did not respond.
Finance Minister Larry Howai referred to the billion-dollar project briefly during the reading of the 2014/2015 budget earlier this month. He said then that work was "being vigorously pursued on establishing a daily supply of water for all our citizens."Howai said, "With the completion of the Beetham Waste Water Project, the Industrial Estate at Point Lisas will benefit from a reliable and high quality water supply, thereby diverting ten million gallons per day of good-quality potable water to the national community."
The company was founded by businessman Krishna Lalla and has been linked to the United National Congress (UNC), often being described as a party financier.
The company was awarded the contract despite being almost $400 million more than that of its nearest competitor. SISL also beat out more seasoned international companies including Vinci Construction, Kentz Caribbean and Latin America, GLF Construction, Technologica Intercontinental, Aqualia Infrastructuras, Societe Generale Des Eaux, Doshion Private Ltd, Universal Projects Ltd, Seven Seas Water (Trinidad), AST Clean Water Technology, Earth Company Ltd and GE Water.
PNM calls for CoE
PNM chairman Franklin Khan and the party's public relations officer Faris Al Rawi yesterday reiterated Rowley's call for a CoE into the award of the Beetham Water Recycling Project to SISL.Speaking at yesterday's post general council press briefing, both men said that the Government should but would not call for a CoE into this matter.
They say that the Government was focusing on the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) Las Alturas project in order to tie Rowley to an investigation in an election year."They fishing for something, but the fish not biting," Khan said."They will never call an inquiry into themselves. We know that they will not call it," Al-Rawi added.
"There are many reasons why a Commissions of Enquiry needs to be called into this Governments management, but we are confident that they will not do that," he said.