THE EDITOR: Minister Rohan Sinanan indicated to the media earlier this week that the Ministry and the Port Authority had nothing to hide regarding procurement documents and a report involved in the tender process for vessels for the seabridge.
Having applied to the PATT via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) since December 2017 the Rowley administration engaged external legal counsel of MG Daly & Co and Lex Caribbean, in the process of preventing the very said documents from being made public.
In fact, following the January 2019 judgment of Justice Devendra Rampersad, PATT attorneys unsuccessfully argued to resist the 21-day deadline given by the court to release the documents. The attorneys indicated if these documents were released it would be catastrophic, deleterious and inimical to all PATT future tenders.
If there was nothing to hide why did it take over a year to have the documents released? If there was nothing to hide why spend taxpayers’ money to prevent documents from being released? If releasing the documents would adversely affect the PATT, how come it was so easily made public?
In light of the challenging economic conditions TT now faces and given that minister Sinanan with ease, one year later, released the very same documents, the minister has an obligation to similarly disclose ALL legal costs associated by the PATT preventing these documents from being public.
The costs of wasting the court's time and personnel is also important to give a true and correct representation of the costs that taxpayers have to bear because of the Rowley administration's attempt to suppress documents.
In these circumstances, I have instructed my attorneys to apply to the PATT and the Ministry via the FOIA to ascertain all legal costs incurred in this particular matter. The taxpayers need to know what this adventure cost them.
Devant Maharaj via e-mail