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.