(Trinidad Guardian) Canadian High Commissioner to T&T Gérard Latulippe says a contract has not yet been awarded to SNC-Lavalin to build the Penal hospital because a due diligence review of the company is still ongoing. Latulippe, who returned to T&T yesterday, said the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) was doing a review of SNC-Lavalin, after which a decision would be taken about whether the company will be used for the multi-million-dollar project at Penal. He said: “The CCC is a crown corporation of the Government of Canada and acts as Canada’s international contracting and procurement agency. “It supports Canadian companies to access international markets through government-to-government arrangements.”
According to its Web site, the CCC reports to Parliament through the Minister of International Trade under Canada’s Financial Administration Act. Latulippe said where there was a business opportunity, the CCC would work with the Canadian company and a foreign government to execute government-to-government arrangements. However, he said, before the CCC went ahead with a project, it did a due-diligence review. “This consists of a thorough review of the company in terms of financial, managerial, technical and corporate social responsibility capabilities as well as its commitment to ethical business practises. “There must be a due-diligence review before the contract is signed. CCC’s participation in any arrangement is conditional to a positive result of the corporation’s due diligence of the company,” Latulippe said.
Latulippe explained that the CCC had been working with the T&T Government over the past few years to develop the Penal hospital. “This facility falls under the auspices of a framework agreement signed between the T&T and the Canadian Governments to expand the corporation with regard to health care in 2012. “Under the agreement the CCC and Udecott are designed as project co-ordinators for their respective countries,” Latulippe said. He added: “CCC and Udecott have worked together in development of various options for the design and construction of the Penal hospital. “The Government of Canada, through the CCC, have put forward a proposal to the Government of T&T and that proposal was to be discussed and analysed. “It was up to the Canadian Government and Udecott to make a decision according to the framework agreement.”
He added that the design phase of the project was almost completed. He said: “The CCC and Udecott are working on the development of a contract for phase two which is the construction and equipping of the hospital itself. “It is important that the contract will not be signed until the CCC has completed its review on this company, as well as their commitments to ethical business practices. “The review is ongoing and there will be no contract signed until it is completed.” He said citizens of T&T would benefit from having a state-of-the-art facility. “They will have the highest international standard because Canada’s health services are highest in the world. “It is expected that the construction part of the contract, including the sourcing of materials and labour will be done locally so this will create a significant number of jobs in the local economy,” Latulippe said. He refused to speculate whether SNC-Lavalin would be given the contract and told the T&T Guardian to contact the company. An e-mail was sent to SNC-Lavalin yesterday but no response had been received up to late yesterday.
The technical framework agreement
One of the principles of the agreement is to work in a co-operative manner in the development of projects. “To that end, any proposal put forth to Udecott must be assessed and agreed to by them,” Latulippe said. Specifically, Part Four (b) of the Framework Agreement states: “The participants understand that the proposals and offers submitted by the CCC will be assessed by Udecott as to the overall cost, the terms of payment, execution and delivery, the manner of execution and the type and quantity of supplies and services. “Any contract resulting from a proposal submitted by CCC pursuant to this arrangement will be on the basis of negotiated terms and conditions mutually acceptable to CCC and Udecott.”