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T. & T. Civil Aviation Authority Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000


Sen. Cuffy Dowlat is laughing because she knows she will try to stop me but she would not. We will deal with that.

With respect to the Desalination Plant, just a few days ago, I was speaking with a supplier of equipment from California who has sold equipment to an operator who makes bottled water. This is a major supplier of equipment for reverse osmosis. In my discussions with him I said: “How come you fellas did not manage to get the contracts for the Desalination Plant if your system is so good?” He said: “Well the truth is we did not even tender.” I said: “Why did you not tender?” Mr. President, this is an American. He laughed and said: “Senator, we knew who had the contract before. There was no point in tendering.” Mr. President, that is how Trinidad and Tobago is viewed everywhere. That is a scandal! That is a shame. I am ashamed that they could look upon my country and say that about us. Mr. President, how could that be? This is not a partisan issue. This is not a PNM, UNC or NAR situation: this is a national scandal. No right- thinking person in the country—I do not care where he comes from—could support that kind of activity.

There was a report in the newspapers this weekend that several frequencies for cellular phones have been allotted by the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT). I am advised that in Jamaica—in the award of the same thing, in the same process—they not only went to tender but the people had to actually bid. There was an auction, and the company in Jamaica actually raised US $97 million in the auctioning of the frequencies, just in the auction process. What did we do? Where are we? Mr. President, I cannot agree to that.

If the Minister will agree to three things: firstly to pull this back for a few weeks and to send it out to the private sector persons who have a vested interest in aviation, and if he will remove clauses 11 and 24, I might be persuaded to support this. But in its current form, as it stands here, I cannot do that.

The last thing I heard from an extremely reliable source was, that crazy roundabout flyover thing that is being designed at the junction of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway and Uriah Butler Highway, again there is scandal inside there. I am reliably informed that a Government Minister has a vested interest in the company that is going to build it.

Mr. President, where are we going to go? Where are the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago going to go if administrations do that kind of business? It is wrong. Let us do the right thing. Let us leave this in here, that is to say, let us not interfere with the provisions of the Central Tenders Board.

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