PORT OF SPAIN — The prime minister does not and should not have the authority to stop projects in Tobago that fall under the ambit of the Tobago House of Assembly.
This was stated yesterday by THA Chief Secretary Orville London, as he fired back following statements by Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar in Parliament on Wednesday night that two Tobago projects were to be stopped and probed.
In her contribution to the budget debate, Persad-Bissessar raised questions with respect to the $250 million Bacolet Aquatic Centre and Indoor Sport Complex and the $143 million Milshirv THA Administration Complex at Shirvan Park.
“I am suggesting first of all that the projects – Milshirv and the projects with respect to the aquatic centre – be halted pending proper clarification and investigation. Secondly, the matters be referred to the Attorney General, the DPP and the Integrity Commission to be investigated,” said Persad-Bissessar.
She also said she had asked the Finance Minister to conduct a central audit on these projects.
Director at Milshirv Properties Ltd, Joseph Rahael, has welcomed the probe, saying that the Build, Own, Lease, Transfer (BOLT) arrangement with the THA was above board and transparent.
At a press conference at the Calder Hall Administrative Building yesterday to address the Prime Minister’s statements, London said with respect to the Bacolet Indoor Complex and Aquatic Centre, one cannot stop a project that has not started. The proposed building is located on lands next to the Dwight Yorke Stadium.
“The Bacolet Aquatic and Indoor Complex, that project has not started, there is no contract, no agreement to start that project, discussions have been going on with various entities over an extended period. No decision has been made and therefore there is no project to stop,” London said.
He said in the case of the Shirvan complex it was for the construction of the administrative offices of the Division of Agriculture, Marine Affairs, Marketing and the Environment. He said the complex because of its location would also serve other divisions of the Assembly for training, conference facilities and members of the public. (Express)