JCC Immediate Past-President, Afra Raymond, interviewed by TV6’s Kejan Haynes on Morning Edition on Tuesday 20 September 2016 on the ongoing issues at development site at Invader’s Bay and their connection to the larger procurement public policy issues. Video courtesy TV6
The previous article on the Sandals Tobago proposal ended by pointing to the need for attention to the underlying, commercial arrangements which drive projects of this type.
The procurement model is key to understanding how these large-scale, internationally-branded hotels are created and sustained. The two ends of the procurement show different approaches –
the T&T model is one in which the State paid to design, build, fit and furnish the hotel to the specifications of the hotelier. The hotel then operates via a management contract which splits the revenue between the State and the hotelier. Trinidad Hilton, Tobago Hilton/Magdalena Grand and Hyatt Regency were built by the State using this method.
The other approach is one in which the hotelier constructs the hotel and receives tax concessions from the ‘host State’ in return.
Both these are Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in which risk and reward are shared.
I previously estimated State debt to the construction industry in the $3.2-3.5 Billion range. I have since been reliably informed that construction industry claims against WASA are estimated to be in the $600M range, which of course would be subject to verification as discussed previously. My revised estimate (see table below) is now in excess of $3.8 Billion, compared to the JCC’s 27 July 2016 estimate of $2.3 Billion.
The size of my more recent estimate gives a severe picture of the State’s indebtedness to the construction industry, which is the sector that Central Bank research shows to be the largest employer in the national economy. Apart from that, the construction industry also has deep links to other important parts of the national economy such as quarrying; banking/finance/insurance; hardware stores; a range of manufacturers; transportation and so on. Continue reading “Property Matters – Pay Day? Part Two”→
The JCC has become dormant by today’s standards, with only two items posted to its website for 2016. I was therefore very interested in their 27th July 2016 Press Conference to protest the high levels of State debt to its members.
At a time of apparent crisis for the construction industry, one would think that the JCC would have been publicly lobbying on behalf of its membership since this had been so effective earlier. When Dr Armstrong became JCC President it was surprising that instead of applying continuous pressure to have the debts owed to members paid, the association’s first public action was an attack on me. Perhaps they thought this was a higher priority, but it’s hard to see how the industry benefited.
JCC Immediate Past-President, Afra Raymond, interviewed by CTV’s Dike Rostant on Good Morning Trinidad & Tobago on Thursday 11th August 2016 on the State debt to the Construction industry. Video courtesy CNMG
Tobago Benchmark hosted a symposium on the “Impact of Sandals Resort on Tobago and No Man’s Land” on Thursday 18th August 2016 at the Buccoo Community Center. Afra Raymond was one of the guest speakers, focusing his talk on the “underlying commercial arrangements” which no one likes to talk about. Examples throughout the Caribbean are seemingly secret, but there are examples from Trinidad and Tobago that can set a context for what is important as opposed to what is merely interesting. Video courtesy Tobago Benchmark.
“…This country should rest comfortably in the knowledge that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago…will do nothing to impede the flow of justice in this or any matter. And we will do everything within its duty and authority to facilitate the holding to account any and all persons who may have been found to have questions to answer. Like every other citizen, it is our expectation that as rights to fair treatment are protected, justice must always take its course swiftly…”
—Extract from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s statement to Parliament on the Colman Report on Friday, 1 July 2016. The emphases are mine.
This season is always one of reflection and re-dedication for me, with the two month transition from Emancipation Day on 1 August to Independence on the 31 August, then onto Republic Day on 24 September. I always spend this spell in some sober reflection, in between the life. It seems to me that the very sequence of events and the consequent holidays in the season imbue it with an inner meaning in terms of a national transition to some kind of depth and purpose. Emancipation to Independence to Republican status…maybe that is just sentimental of me, but let us see.
If we are not vigilant, there is a real danger that the details of this entire CL Financial matter – both the failure of the group and the huge bailout – will be made to disappear in an epic legal mangle. There has never been a conviction for large-scale white collar crime in our country. The CL Financial collapse is such a serious episode that there is inescapable evidence which can ensure consequences. At the same time, the main players are so wealthy and influential that they can devise an effective way to avoid justice, unless we exercise vigilance in the public interest. Continue reading “The Colman Report”→