Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial yesterday questioned whether approval has been given to construct a $200 million sporting facility in Diego Martin.
Ramdial posed the question in her contribution to the 2017/2018 budget debate in the House of Representatives. She said the budget documents only spoke about $21 million in funding for a sport complex in Diego Martin and this funding was for 2016.
She asked if this was the same project she was told about or another one. “These are questions which should be answered,”Ramdial said. Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi told her that “no such contract” had been approved by the Cabinet.
Sports Minister Daryl Smith later said, “It is not $200 million. It is $120 million and it is going to be a fantastic facility.” He said it would be similar to a sports facility in Siparia whose MP is Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Smith said that facility cost $200 million. He said the facility Ramdial referred to exists almost in the middle of the Diego Martin Central, North-East and West constituencies. Smith said the foundation was put down but the project was abandoned for ten years under the People’s Partnership. He said the original contractor, SRI Construction, will be doing the project.
Referring to a statement issued earlier in the day by the Office of the Prime Minister regarding a Memorandum of Understanding for a Sandals resort in Tobago, Ramdial asked how that project would be financed. She claimed all that had happened was the acquisition of land in Tobago for the hotel.
Ramdial noted that women continue to be the victims of crime in TT. Claiming there was a video of National Security Minister Edmund Dillon dancing, Ramdial wished his ability to deal with crime matched his dancing skills.
After alleging that Finance Minister Colm Imbert had dismissed suggestions from all economic experts in TT and criticised the business community, Ramdial said this was because Imbert was, “not into sterile conversations or academic debates.”