OPPOSITION Senator Wade Mark alleged corruption in the award of a janitorial contract at state majority owned TSTT, but this was flatly denied by Minister of Public Utilities Robert Le Hunte who said the contracts were split among many companies and had been properly awarded. This occurred in a motion on the adjournment of the Senate yesterday. Claiming “big rigging, favouritism and corruption,” Mark alleged a past executive member of the People’s National Movement (PNM) owns a firm that had been favoured to service all 300 sites run by TSTT, to the demise of other companies which had in total several hundred employees.
“The company in question is linked to a former PNM executive member who is a former senator.” He said the person was also a former TSTT executive member. “This situation calls for a forensic audit, to be made public at the end of the process. Corrupt practices at TSTT are leading to a feeding frenzy.”
Le Hunte in turn apologised to the owners of Trinidad Carpet Installation for having their name dragged through the mud in the Senate. He related that the old contact had expired in 2015 but been renewed for two more years by the TSTT board. In 2017 TSTT issued RFPs (requests for proposals) for the provision of new services but this had not yielded the desired results, but rather an increased concentration risk and higher costs.
A new RFP was issued in July 2018, resulting in 33 responses, of which ten bids were selected, made up of eight new and two existing contractors.
“These new contractors are now in place.” He said the new arrangement had led to a savings of $652,134. “There is no one person that got all the contracts. That’s fake news.”