MP for Oropouche East, Dr Roodal Moonilal, yesterday said the government’s proposed new state-owned company to maintain the roads is “a recipe for corruption”.
Moonilal questioned why a new state-owned company was needed to repair the roads when it was already being done under the Road Efficiency Improvement Program (Pure), and further claimed that the government was seeking to putting money in the hands of friends and relatives.
Moonilal was speaking at the midweek United National Congress (UNC) press conference at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition in Port of Spain.
He was referring to the Secondary Roads and Rehabilitation Company, which will report to the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government and Minister Faris Al-Rawi.
Moonilal noted a press release from that ministry, advising that the company was being nominated, and questioned the inclusion of National Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (Nidco) chairman Herbert George as chairman of the new society.
Moonilal claimed that George oversaw the Mosquito Creek collapse and this phase of the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin, causing the loss of $180 million in taxpayer dollars.
He later said there was “no comment” from Public Works Minister Rohan Sinanan on the matter, and said the government had to answer for “what is the need of this company and why you don’t don’t want Pure”.
He said Pure was started by former Prime Minister Patrick Manning and there were mechanisms to pave and maintain the roads.
Moonilal said some works such as repairing secondary roads could be done by the regional companies.
He further criticized the company’s $100 million start-up budget, which was leaked by Finance Minister Colm Imbert in June, during the Finance Standing Committee to discuss $3 billion in budget variations. 2022 as part of the allowances.
Moonilal said he was told an allocation of around $400 million was to be made in the next national budget for the establishment of the company, citing waste and the potential for mismanagement.
The MP said the proposed new venture “has no shovels or wheelbarrows” and would need to be provided with equipment, administrative capacity and staff.
“They can’t fix anything,” he said, adding that the new entity would have to hire staff such as engineers.
Moonilal, who has been outspoken on the issue of the incomplete Ramai Trace Hindu School, said the school could have been completed at 10% of the cost of the new road company.