ADDRESSING a UNC rally at the Couva South Multipurpose Complex, Couva on Sunday, the party’s political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar questioned the award of state contracts to three companies: Cummings and Associates; PICAL Services; and Klydon Enterprises.
She asked what was PNM senator Foster Cummings’ connection to recently awarded state contracts.
“PICAL was handpicked through selective tendering last November to handle the demolition of the building which formerly housed the Besson Street police station,” she said, “and the company was also recently awarded a contract for garbage collection services for Housing Development Corporation projects.”
She said two of the companies, Cummings and Associates and PICAL, list Cummings and his wife as directors. Persad-Bissessar called on the Prime Minister to say whether it is the same Foster Cummings’ PICAL Services that was awarded contracts for garbage collection at HDC developments.
“So what procurement process was used here? Selective tendering again? What is the value of these contracts? Why is PICAL the contractor to receive these multi-million-dollar contracts?”
Persad-Bissessar also asked whether Klydon Enterprises, which was awarded a contract to build a community centre for $1,209,000 had any connection to Cummings.
“This company was only incorporated on November 25, 2015, right after the general elections. It has no shares, no assets but has been awarded a $1.2 million contract.
“What is coincidental is that the same lawyer who files the annual returns for PICAL Services Ltd filed for Klydon Enterprises Ltd.”
In 2004, Persad Bissessar said, Dr Rowley, as Housing Minister, admitted in Parliament that PICAL had received a state contract for a National Housing Authority (NHA) project in Edinburgh 500.
Persad-Bissessar said the government she led from 2010-2015 made significant investment into the lives of young people which enriched and empowered thousands of the nation’s youth.
“The grant of laptop computers to children entering secondary schools was the first stage. Included in the laptop programme, we will be implementing e-textbooks so that families would not be forced to buy textbooks.”
Under the People’s Partnership, she said the UWI Debe Campus was built and the Aviation Institute was established. Her government, she added, expanded the GATE programme to include technical and vocational training, and established the first-ever drilling academy in the history of the country to respond to upstream energy activities.
“We began this process of preparing our young people to take advantage of the fourth industrial revolution with the laptop programme.
“When we return to office we will look at ways to increase the use of technology in classrooms, and improve the curriculum with the addition of new subjects in the areas of information and communication technologies (ICT), coding and other digital skills at all levels. We will introduce life skills and basic financial training as core parts of the syllabus,” she told supporters.