New Trini law allows Piarco Airport scoundrels to escape justice!

by Afra Raymond
The Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry – JCC – is completely opposed to the recently-proclaimed provisions of the Trinidad and Tobago  Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act 2011 which have the effect of creating a loophole to allow the high-profile persons accused in the Piarco Airport scandal to escape trial.The Bernard Commission was an expensive and critical Enquiry into the Piarco Airport scandal which revealed evidence of massive corruption, bid-rigging, bribe-paying, back-fitting and other practices which amounted to a series of criminal assaults on our nation’s Treasury.  The JCC played a leading role in calling for and submitting evidence to the Bernard Commission which exposed abuse of power and corrupt practices in some of the highest offices in our country.  There have been high-level convictions and imprisonments arising directly from the Bernard Commission, yet there has been no action on effectively prosecuting the accused parties in our own Courts.
“The effect of the new laws which were proclaimed would have been to create a legal means for those accused persons to escape a trial and oblige the Court to have made a verdict of not guilty.  The JCC deplores such an intended result in this matter as being contrary to good order and seemingly intended to promote the notion that white-collar crime pays.”
The JCC is calling for immediate corrective action by the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice, including repealing the recently-proclaimed sections of this Act, to ensure that the trials of the Piarco Airport scandal accused can proceed as promised on several occasions to the public.Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.  Even after the necessary immediate corrective action, the JCC is calling on the Prime Minister to make a formal, full statement to the Parliament to give an accounting for the manner in which this most important matter has been handled, including why it was thought advisable to have those particular clauses of this new law proclaimed at the particular moment of celebrating our country’s 50th anniversary of Independence.

Given the specific assurances given to the Parliament as to the pre-conditions to the government’s intended proclamation of this new law, the role of the President in assenting to these particular clauses at that particular moment of national celebration and maximum distraction is a matter for serious concern.

Publish the Bernard Report now

The JCC is repeating its call for the immediate publication of the full Report of the Bernard Commission into the Piarco Airport scandal.

Implement the Uff Report recommendations now

The JCC is calling on this administration to implement the Uff Report recommendations now as promised in the 2010 election campaign.  The JCC completely rejects the position of the Minister of Justice that the Joint Select Committee on Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property is handling that implementation process.  Only one of the 91 recommendations of the Uff Report has any relation to the work of that Joint Select Committee, so those need to be implemented now.

If this administration is serious about attacking the wave of white-collar crime which is drowning our country, the Uff Report recommendations will be implemented now.

Public Procurement reform now

The JCC is renewing its call for the immediate implementation of a new Public Procurement system to eliminate the waste and theft of Public Money.  This administration campaigned on a promise to implement the new Public Procurement system within one year of the May 2010 election, so we are way overdue for those new laws.

The JCC and its colleagues in the Private Sector/Civil Society group have submitted a complete DRAFT BILL to the Joint Select Committee, so that needs to become law now.

If this administration is serious about attacking the wave of white-collar crime which is drowning our country, the DRAFT BILL on Public Procurement and disposal of Public Property as prepared by the Private Sector/Civil Society group will be immediately tabled in Parliament for debate and enactment

In this, our nation’s 50th year of independence, our Parliament re-convened during its vacation to approve Financial laws on the request of a foreign government.

The JCC is calling for Parliament to be reconvened for the immediate correction of this gross error in proclaiming this new law.

The JCC is also calling on this administration to make the passing of new Public Procurement laws an urgent priority.

Thank you for your support on these important issues of national development.

Afra Raymond, BSc, FRICS
President
Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry

The Professional Centre Building

Unit 202, Fitzblackman Drive, Wrightson Road Extension, Port of Spain,

Trinidad, West Indies
Tel: 868-623-9396 or 868-627-2522

Fax: 868-625-5749 
Email: 
jcctt1@gmail.com

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5 Comments

Filed under Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

5 responses to “New Trini law allows Piarco Airport scoundrels to escape justice!

  1. Tudor

    It will not not long before Govt in Barbados does likewise, we continue to learn well from our brothers in the south!

  2. PLANTATION DEEDS FROM 1926 UP TODAY A ND SEE MASSIVE FRAUD ,

    monkey see the other monkeys will DO.Crooks and Fraud and PONZI for Life , Until others take over and put Law back in place.
    Cant Blame the so call WHITE man for things when the so called BLACK man does not learn from wrong doing . Nothing stays the same forever..They love to pass laws and new rules after they have been caught . …

  3. 247

    Justice???? Really….wise up.

  4. 247

    Here’s an interesting read:

    Some documents recently reached my mailbox. They are a great puzzlement.One of them is a deed dated November 15, 2011, which records—or witnesseth, in deedspeak—the purchase of three acres of land for the sum of TT$12 million by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) from a company called Dankett Ltd.
    A second document gives Dankett’s directors as Anthony Rahael, Joseph Rahael, John Aboud and Michael Aboud.

    A third document is dated November 21, 2011, six days after the THA purchase. In this document, the THA leases the land it has just bought to a company called Milshirv Properties Ltd for a period of 199 years, beginning December 1, 2011, at an annual rental of $10. That’s right: $10. A fourth document gives Milshirv’s directors as Joseph Rahael and John Aboud.

    According to the lease document, Milshirv is “to construct an office building and facilities (being 82,954 sf over three floors in extent)… on completion of (which), (Milshirv) will lease (them) to the (THA) for a term of 20 years…”All rates, taxes and assessments” on the premises are to be paid by the THA. I expect that $10 a year would cover those costs nicely.

    Attached to, and forming part of, this document are drawings and designs of the proposed facility. They were done by Amera Caribbean Development Ltd, which in the telephone directory bears the same address as the ones in the documents for the directors of Dankett and Milshirv. A coincidence, I expect. We experience that phenomenon all the time in this country.

    Questions arise which I need help to answer satisfactorily. For instance, why would the THA, which never tires of telling us about all the Tobago land it says it has acquired over the last several years in the interest of the people of Tobago, purchase even more land merely for administrative offices (the Division of Agriculture)? Why would it have bought land from one company and almost immediately leased it to another company (don’t even think about interlocking directorates) for 199 years, which means the land has been virtually given away? (The land is at the corner of the Claude Noel Highway and Shirvan Road in Canaan/Bon Accord, near the airport. Is this the best location for an office dealing with agriculture and marine affairs?)

    Now comes a THA media release of September 6 which says, among other things, there are “significant benefits to be gained from the BOLT (Build Own Lease Transfer) arrangement entered into by the (THA) with the special purpose company MILSHIV (sic) Ltd to build the facility”. (Special purpose! This goes beyond even Patrick Manning, who confined himself to State enterprises, whereas Milshirv is a private sector company.)

    Among these “benefits”, apparently, are that “the THA (will) not have to put out any money for the project” (but will merely pay a fixed rate at the present market price of $15.61 per sf per month over [20 years]).

    Also, the THA (will) not be responsible for the external maintenance of the building; the developer will take all the risk in the investment; the lease/rental will be “a charge on recurrent expenditure, thus freeing up development funds for other projects”; and at the end of 20 years “the property (will) automatically be owned by the (THA)”.

    As for the nearly two-century-long, peppercorn rent lease, that was done to allow MILSHIR (sic) “to secure long-term financing for the project”.
    If my arithmetic is good, the THA, ie, the T&T taxpayer, will therefore be paying for the facility, which the THA release says is to cost $143 million, a monthly rental of just under $1.3 million (83,000 sf at $15.61 per sf). Over 20 years the total amount paid will consequently be about $310 million. Especially when other factors are taken into consideration, including the ones given in the release, does this represent good value for our money? But why worry, after all, we have the THA’s word that it isn’t putting out any money for the project.

    Rent isn’t money, it seems; the nature and timing of payments may not matter. I wouldn’t mind being the developer, though. With funds running like that under the BOLT concept, even Usain would be envious.

    Other questions arise. Were tenders publicly invited? Or was Milshirv merely deemed a “special purpose company”? If so, by whom and on what authority? Why, how and when would that have happened? Why does the THA release say the land was “previously owned by Amera”, when in fact the THA bought it from Dankett? What could be the implications for the taxpayer of a building to be owned by the THA, ie, the taxpayer, only in the 2030s yet constructed on land now owned by the THA but leased until 2210?

    There are of course many other documents I haven’t seen; a good paper trail would include, for example, Notes to the THA Executive Council and the decisions thereon. Would the THA, in the name of the transparency and accountability that administrations in T&T are so fond of proclaiming, issue a comprehensive statement for the benefit of T&T, and particularly of Tobago? And would persons familiar with concepts like BOLT and BLOT and BOOT, etc, comment as well?

    Oh, I nearly forgot. The directors of Amera are Joseph Rahael and Anthony Rahael. Another coincidence, I imagine.

    This was written by Reginald Dumas in the Express.

  5. 3453400-88-34b

    Catch me if you can??? lol