WHAT is the cost to taxpayers of the visit to TT of a team from Australian shipbuilders, Austal, asked former Cabinet minister Devant Maharaj in a statement yesterday.
He queried the “matter of fact” tone of the announcement of the visit of the team that will check over four water taxis and six Coast Guard vessels and discuss their maintenance.
“The Government has failed to indicate to the population who is paying for the Austal Team’s visit and how much will this visit costs the taxpayers of TT,” Maharaj complained.
“It is also passing strange that the Government has secured the services of this Australian team without any deference to the expertise resident in TT, in particular the Port Authority.”
While the Austal Team is due to visit local shipyards and dry dock facilities in consideration of developing a maintenance facility in Trinidad, Maharaj asked if the Government has also made such an offer to any other ship-builder?
“What was the procurement process used by Dr Rowley while in Australia to select these particular ship builders? Why were not tenders invited internationally?”
Referring to the proposed Sandals Resort for Tobago and the ferries Cabo Star, Ocean Flower II and Galleons Passage, Maharaj alleged that the “sole select” tender appeared to be choice of preference of the Government.
“The Rowley Administration appears to have abandoned any semblance of procurement when it comes to these mega projects.
“The population is just expected to accept the decision of the Prime Minister in these acts of million dollar expenditure.”