(Trinidad Guardian) The award of a TT$.5 billion contract to the China Jiangsu International firm is a “worrying sign” for Government senator David Abdulah. He said T&T will never develop if local capacity was not maximised. He was speaking at a seminar organised by the T&T Local Content Chamber at the Linx Hotel in San Fernando—on the same day the T&T Guardian reported that the Chinese construction firm got the contract to build the University of the West Indies (UWI) South campus.
Abdulah called on the Government to establish a national policy on local capacity. “We are now seeing worrying signs where the use of government-to-government relations allows contracts to be awarded to large transnational firms coming from China…These firms are gathering huge contracts in the construction sector,” Abdulah said as he reiterated the labour movement’s role in energising the local sector.
“Our major projects must be done by local firms so we build our own capacity. “Once we build capacity and our local firms get larger, they will be able to export services. “Then they can bid for projects outside of T&T and build foreign exchange.” He said the chamber must work with the labour movement to lobby for a national policy on local content.
“We need to collectively speak about that, because it is not like we don’t have local capacity to execute these projects,” he said. Abdulah also called for a national development fund to harness excess liquidity in the economy and provide capital for key projects.
Saying the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) was an integral part of the People’s Partnership, Abdulah revealed that by May 24, the MSJ will be issuing a public statement about its role in government. He said MSJ had no plans to date to leave the Partnership.
In a news release last night the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies said UWI was “extremely pleased with the progress made so far on the process implemented over the 12 months for the design, procument and construction” of the new Penal/Debe campus.
“There was rigorous pre-qualifications exercise for consortia, publicly advertised in the local and foreign media and a fair and transparent bidding process in keeping with the university’s mandatory and independent procurement guidelines and international best practice.”