VIDEO: State-owned hotels in T&T – a research review

This my presentation to male students and leaders at North Hall in St Augustine on Thursday, 28 November 2019. The nominal topic was ‘How to curtail corruption‘ but in actuality I would call it ‘State-owned hotels in T&T – a research review‘.

Programme Date: 28 November 2019
Programme Length: 00:51:09

Property Matters – THA BOLT Appeal, part two

“…A nod is as good as a wink to a Blind Horse…”
—A cynical Cockney view of political tricks.

“…You drink your rum, well let me drink mine…”
—A cynical local saying on how improper behaviour is tacitly accepted.

In this case, the THA, making its long-standing case for increased autonomy, seems comfortable to defend the wretched MILSHIRV agreement almost in the same breath as its perennial complaints of severe financial hardship. Well I tell you.

milshirv complex
Milshirv Complex in Tobago

The misbegotten MILSHIRV project is ground-zero in the workbook for how PPPs and BOLT arrangements can violate the Public Interest. Our responsible senior Public Officials agreed to change the terms of the lawsuit so that the legality of this BOLT contract was never tested by the Court, so the matter was converted by agreement to become an ‘interpretation‘ issue. Given the Court of Appeal ruling on 21st October 2019, the Public Interest has once again been grossly violated.

Typical views of failed projects consider delayed completions, cost over-runs or structural failure but despite the popularity, such views are entirely incorrect.  The proper position is that the only failed project is one from which we learn no lessons.  That is the real learning here.

This article takes a closer look at the Court of Appeal judgment in this matter and the real implications for the public interest. Continue reading “Property Matters – THA BOLT Appeal, part two”

Property Matters – THA BOLT Appeal

This article examines the recent Court of Appeal ruling that the THA did not have the power to enter certain PPPs as had been done in the MILSHIRV project.

tha-bolt1

In November 2011, the THA entered a Public Private Partnership with the Rahael Holdings group for MILSHIRV, a new office building at the corner of Claude Noel Highway and Shirvan Road in western Tobago.  I was heavily critical of that project as it was clear to me that the basic principles of needs assessment had been violated, as detailed later in this article. Continue reading “Property Matters – THA BOLT Appeal”

Public Secrets

Public Secrets

What is a Public Secret?  Is that an oxymoron?  Public bodies use public lands and/or public money to make agreements, supposedly in the pursuance of the public interest.  Yet those same bodies often claim that those arrangements are in fact private.  Well I tell you.

That proposition has been advanced, repeatedly and by both political sides, against all good sense and to the continuing detriment of the public.

Two high-profile requests for information were recently refused by public officials and that is the matter I will be examining here. Continue reading “Public Secrets”

Property Matters – HDC Housing Bonds Part Three

Property Matters – HDC Housing Bonds Part Three

The first article in this series set out the background to these proposed bonds and the implications of the HDC’s perennial problem with bad property titles.  The second drew parallels between these proposals and the roots of the 2008 Wall Street crash, with some references to Jamaica’s National Housing Trust and its contribution system as an alternative for financing affordable housing.  This week I conclude by delving into the heart of the matter, the HDC’s finances and its performance in terms of its existing bond portfolio.

One of my persistent complaints against many of our State Agencies, including the HDC, is the long-term failure or refusal to publish proper audited accounts as required by laws and regulations.  nha-hdc-logoI am pleased to report that my requests for NHA/HDC financial statements from 2003 to 2018 were satisfied in April this year.  Once again, I thank the exemplary officers at the HDC for their assistance.  Even if this time I had to engage my attorney to send HDC a pre-action protocol letter before the financial statements were released and what is more, they have not refunded my legal fees.

Those financial statements are for the NHA from 2003 to 2005 and the HDC after 2005.  This article is focused on these proposed bonds so the first point to raise is the status of those financial statements. Continue reading “Property Matters – HDC Housing Bonds Part Three”