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T&T Civil Aviation Authority Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000

can use this paragraph to give the airline that he effectively controls, an advantage over the private sector. How could that be right? How can we legislate that kind of framework? How can we stand for that?

One of the things that has to happen is that this piece of legislation must be sent outwards, not inwards just to the personnel within the Civil Aviation Authority, it must be sent outwards to all the private sector operatives asking for their comments and we have to have that on the table before we can go any further with this. We have to be able to go forward.

Mr. President, in terms of clause 14 the disclosure of interest and the planning and management sections in clause 15, I have no real difficulty with that. I have no difficulty with making state-owned organizations operate as if they are working in the real world.

Mr. President, clause 11 cannot work. Furthermore, I would draw the attention of Members to clause 24 which the Minister just glossed over. It says:

“24(1) The Authority in the performance of its functions is not subject to the provisions of the Central Tenders Board Ordinance.”

Everything this administration has done since 1995 has been contrary to the Central Tenders Board, every major scandal, including the airport, that billion dollar nightmare, the Minister says is the “crown jewels”, indeed it is. The “crown jewels” have been raped and sitting in an airport which nobody is going to afford to maintain. They are building an airport the size of Toronto International, with perhaps less than one-tenth of the amount of traffic. How can that be so? Why is the Central Tenders Board necessary? This is still a state-owned enterprise and as such, is still accountable to the state and the people. The Minister has made no case for any rationale why that clause should be there; why this authority should not be subject to the Central Tenders regulations? Every time you turn around there is some new scandal.

11.45 a.m.

There was a scandal at the National Gas Company in the purchase of their scatter system. I have documents in my possession that clearly indicate that the decision to award the contract to a company in which a close associate of the Government had a financial interest was made the day before all the tenderers were called to Calvary for a meeting with the consultants. They were making a mockery of the whole thing. I have been on the television with that already. In the course of time I will deal with that.

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