Afra Raymond did a webinar with the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute where he was the keynote speaker at what was originally carded to be breakfast seminar at Hyatt Regency. -Co-panellists were Chartered Accountant and CLICO Chairman, Claire Gomez-Millar and OPR Chairman, Moonilal Lalchan, which CCGI Chairman, Nigel Romano, chaired the discussion. The topic was The role of the Board of Directors in light of the new Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act.
As far as I know, there has been no response from Finance Minister Imbert to the points raised in the previous article. Of course, no response is required, but given the importance of the issue and the highly engaged communication style of that Minister, I certainly had cause for a pause.
This article will continue last week’s examination of the delays, but first, some background. The new Public Procurement system replaces the Central Tenders Board, so it is useful to note that although the CTB Act is a 1961 law, the first Board was not sworn-in until 1966 – a full five years after the law. Note well, too, that this was at a period when the CTB Act had the full support of the first PNM administration of Dr Eric Williams and the opposition forces were then a mere shadow of their current selves.
Given that background, what can we make of these delays in getting the Office of Procurement Regulation (OPR) up and running? Firstly, even though The Act is No. 1 of 2015, the first OPR Board was appointed two years ago, in January 2018, under the Chairmanship of Moonilal Lalchan.
Afra Raymond is interviewed by Asha Javeed on the “Business Edge” show on TV6, along with Procurement Regulator Moonilal Lalchan, to look at Transparency within the Government’s proposed game-changer projects for transformation and a sustainable local economy in the recent 2019 Budget presentation. Video courtesy TV6.
Programme Date: 21 October 2018 Programme Length: 00:10:00 and 00:08:06
Afra Raymond is with Ralph Maraj on i95.5FM discussing the hot topic of the day: the La Brea Dry Dock project. They cover the Government to Government Agreement; the contractor hired, the China Harbour Engineering; and the new Public Procurement System. Audio courtesy i95.5 FM
Programme Date: Tuesday 18th September Programme Length: 00:40:26
Power 102.1 FM interview with Ms Sandrine Rattan on e-tendering within the new Public Procurement system with Afra Raymond, Moonilal Lalchan, Chairman of the Office of Procurement Regulation and Keino Cox, Chairman of TSTT’s Tenders Committee. Audio courtesy Power 102 FM
At the end of January 2018, the Ministry of Trade & Industry and its implementing agency, Evolving Technologies & Enterprise Development Company (ETECK), announced the completion of a $7.6M project for the renewal of the Trinidad Hilton Pool. According to the official statements, that project was completed on time and within budget, as part of the State’s long-term obligations at that 418-room hotel. Despite those assurances, there was a series of condemnations which need to examined.
Trinidad Hilton Management Agreement
Three of its interesting details –
Hilton pays ETECK a rental of 76% of the ‘Annual Gross Operating Profit’ which is defined in the lease;
ETECK is responsible for doing replacements, renewals, extensions or improvements to the Trinidad Hilton at its expense. That means that ETECK was acting within the lease terms in paying for those pool improvements;
Hilton is required to prepare detailed accounts of the hotel’s operations and submit those to ETECK.
Please note that Trinidad Hilton is undergoing a hugely expensive improvement program since 2008 (see Sidebar).
I am not making an issue of the decision to do these improvements or making allegations of cost or time over-runs. There may be issues in those aspects of the project but I am not engaging those.
My issue has been and remains, that despite all the smooth press releases and so on, we are unaware of the underlying commercial arrangements by which these hotels exist. The three largest hotels in our country are State-owned – Trinidad Hilton; Magdalena Grand (formerly known as Tobago Hilton) and Hyatt Regency. Those hotels are operated by foreign entities under management agreements with the State agencies which hold the ownership interest. They can therefore be classed as Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). Since PPPs are currently being promoted as a development approach, those arrangements certainly ought to be closely examined, looking beyond the Hilton pool. Continue reading “Property Matters – Trinidad Hilton Improvements”→