Tainted Canadian company booted from T&T hospital project

(Trinidad Express) The Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) has officially communicated to the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) that it will consider another company to construct the Penal Hospital, says Housing Minister and acting Prime Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal.

Moonilal disclosed this to the media yesterday at Piarco International Airport where he saw the departure of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for Panama.

Amidst controversy surrounding Canadian contractor SNC-Lavalin, Government agreed to cut ties with the company.

Moonilal said the first phase of the Penal Hospital, the design, was almost complete and construction was the next phase.

Asked if the projected delivery date for the hospital would be delayed, he said: “In a way, yes, it will hamper (delivery) by a few months, but we will pursue it with another contractor because we have expressed on public record our deep concerns with the contractor.”

Responding to the statements of the Canadian High Commissioner, who told the Express he was deeply offended by the comments of Opposition MP Colm Imbert in Parliament last Friday, Moonilal said Imbert had a right to raise the matter.

“Mr Imbert did some observations which he is entitled to as a member of Parliament under the privilege of Parliament. I think the High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago may want to clarify the record perfectly with Mr Imbert on that matter.”

Asked whether he agreed with Communications Minister Gerald Hadeed that the situation created a diplomatic mess, Moonilal replied: “One doesn’t like squabbles between legislatures and heads of missions in any country…There are issues there. I would imagine it would be cleared up in a few days and Mr Imbert has a strong opinion on the matter…The High Commissioner has responded to clarify. I hope he can clarify the issues properly.”

On acting as Prime Minister in Persad-Bissessar’s absence, Moonilal said, “I feel extremely humbled and privileged. I will continue doing my job to the best of my ability. I express my gratitude to the Prime Minister for the confidence expressed in me and I’ll give it my best shot.”

He said he will continue his work as UNC deputy leader and will be heavily involved in the local government elections campaign in addition to all his duties over the next few days.

Moonilal further disclosed that a PNM candidate in the Penal/Debe regional corporation withdrew his candidacy yesterday. He said the People’s Partnership was confident of an election victory.

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