UNC chairman calls for procurement legislation

Monday, January 28, 2019 - 16:15

Warn­ing that valu­able oil as­sets could be sold to friends and fi­nanciers of the PNM, UNC chair­man David Lee has called for the op­er­a­tional­i­sa­tion of the pro­cure­ment leg­is­la­tion be passed in Par­lia­ment un­der the PNM.

Speak­ing at the UNC’s Gen­er­al As­sem­bly held in Cou­va on Sun­day, Lee lam­bast­ed the Gov­ern­ment for not op­er­a­tional­is­ing the pro­cure­ment leg­is­la­tion say­ing out of 90 bills, it was one of the few bills passed in Par­lia­ment.

Ac­cus­ing the Gov­ern­ment of hav­ing a poor leg­isla­tive agen­da, Lee said out of 90 bills brought to Par­lia­ment since 2015, on­ly 48 bills were passed by the PNM gov­ern­ment. Say­ing the gov­ern­ment was fail­ing the peo­ple of T&T, Lee ex­plained, “Out of these 48 bills, on­ly 34 has as­sent­ed with nine be­ing pro­claimed and one par­tial­ly pro­claimed.”

He added, “The PNM’s leg­isla­tive agen­da has been in­ef­fi­cient, in­ef­fec­tive and has failed to fa­cil­i­tate any form of growth or de­vel­op­ment in our pub­lic sec­tor and with­in our pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions.”

With re­gard to pro­cure­ment, Lee said, “They promised prop­er pro­cure­ment pro­ce­dures but up to this day, the pro­cure­ment leg­is­la­tion is not ful­ly pro­claimed. While this sig­nif­i­cant piece of leg­is­la­tion hangs in the air, mil­lions of your dol­lars, tax­pay­ers dol­lars are be­ing spent to buy fer­ries from Aus­tralia with­out any form of prop­er pro­cure­ment,” Lee said.

He added, “Let us not for­get the pro­cure­ment of the Galleon’s Pas­sage. In the ab­sence of this leg­is­la­tion be­ing ful­ly pro­claimed valu­able as­sets of the peo­ple of this na­tion own such as the re­fin­ery and oth­er Petrotrin as­sets could be sold with­out prop­er over­sight.”

Lee al­so said, “Mil­lions of dol­lars worth of your as­sets can go cheap­ly to the PNM friends and fi­nanciers.”

Say­ing the Op­po­si­tion was work­ing to­wards keep­ing the gov­ern­ment in check, Lee said over the past 40 months in Par­lia­ment, Op­po­si­tion MPs have asked over 750 ques­tions.

“We have asked the PM over 318 ques­tions in Par­lia­ment, and we have asked over 433 ur­gent ques­tions. We have filed over 16 pri­vate mem­bers day mo­tions,” Lee added.

Mean­while, head of the UNC’s Women’s Arm Cather­ine Ali said women of T&T could suf­fer the same fate as women in Venezuela if the trans­for­ma­tion of the fam­i­ly does not be­gin. Say­ing debt has bank­rupt­ed Venezuela, Ali said un­der the UNC a prac­ti­cal Agri­cul­tur­al Train­ing In­sti­tute has been reg­is­tered to pro­vide train­ing and plant­i­ng ma­te­ri­als for TT food pro­duc­tion. She said women af­fairs of­fi­cers have been ap­point­ed to set up spaces for di­a­logue on crime pre­ven­tion and food pro­duc­tion.

“We have to re­link gov­ern­ment to com­mu­ni­ties and strength­en lo­cal ca­pac­i­ty for build­ing con­sen­sus on in­ter­ven­tions in com­mu­ni­ties,” Ali said.

- by Radhica De Silva. Photo by Rishi Ragoonath.