FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert yesterday slammed the former People’s Partnership (PP) government for its “capricious decision” to cancel the Alutrint project which was launched under the former Patrick Manning administration. Speaking in the House of Representatives, Imbert said the decision by the PP to simply cancel the project has led China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) to file a claim of US$201 million against TT. CEMEC was the main contractor on the Alutrint project
Scoffing this was “a gift” which the PP left the People’s National Movement (PNM) when it demitted office in September 2015, Imbert said this was, “ almost $1.4 billion which taxpayers of this country will have to treat with.” He made this disclosure after indicating that TT’s outstanding debt to China, with respect to loans and financing facilities, stood at $2.229 billion as of January 31.
Imbert said this figure included an outstanding balance of $138,609,487 on a loan which the PNM had to arrangement with the Chinese government for the acquisition of the TTS Nelson II for the Coast Guard. He said the PP did not make a loan arrangement with the Chinese for this vessel but chose to acquire it on trust.
Imbert said there was an outstanding balance of $974,511,500 on a loan for the Couva Children’s, Adult and Training Hospital built under the PP. He also said there were outstanding balances of $440,295,212 and $180,835,533 on loans for the National Academy for the Performing Arts and the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts, respectively. Both facilities were built under the Manning administration. Imbert said there was an outstanding balance of $545,137,619 on a loan for the construction of sporting facilities in the country.
Later in the sitting, Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dennis Moses said TT continues to enjoy robust diplomatic relations with China.