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«197 Leave of Absence Friday, July 23, 1999 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Friday, July 23, 1999 The House met at 1.30 p.m. PRAYERS [MR. SPEAKER in the ...»

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197

Leave of Absence Friday, July 23, 1999

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Friday, July 23, 1999

The House met at 1.30 p.m.

PRAYERS

[MR. SPEAKER in the Chair]

LEAVE OF ABSENCE

Mr. Speaker: Honourable Members, I wish to advise that I have received

communication from the Member for San Fernando West and from the Member for Naparima who have asked to be excused from today’s sitting. The leave of absence which they seek is granted.

PAPERS LAID

1. Report of the Auditor General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on the accounts and Financial Statements of the Tobago House of Assembly for the year ended December 31, 1990. [The Attorney General (Hon. R. L.

Maharaj)]

2. Report of the Auditor General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on the accounts and Financial Statements of the Tobago House of Assembly for the year ended December 31, 1991. [Hon. R. L. Maharaj]

3. Report of the Auditor General on the accounts of the Nariva/Mayaro County Council for the year ended December 31, 1988. [Hon. R. L. Maharaj]

4. Report of the Auditor General on the accounts of the Nariva/Mayaro County Council for the year ended December 31, 1989. [Hon. R. L. Maharaj]

5. Report of the Auditor General on the accounts of the Nariva/Mayaro County Council for the year ended December 31, 1990. [Hon. R. L. Maharaj]

6. Report of the Auditor General on the accounts of the Assistance to the National Drug Abuse Demand Reduction Programme as required by Project Document AD/TRI/96/910 between the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) for the year ended January 01 to September 30, 1998. [Hon. R. L. Maharaj]

7. Loan Agreement No. 4458-TR (Postal Services Reform Project) between Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development dated June 14, 1999. [Hon. R. L. Maharaj] 198 Papers Laid Friday, July 23, 1999 Papers 1 to 7 to be referred to the Public Accounts Committee

8. The Auditor’s Report and Financial Statements of the National Helicopter Services Limited for the year ended September 30, 1998. [Hon. R. L.

Maharaj] To be referred to the Public Accounts (Enterprises) Committee

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

Energy Sector (Identification of New Projects)

71. Mr. Kenneth Valley (Diego Martin Central) asked the Minister of Energy

and Energy Industries:

Would the Minister kindly identify the new projects, which have been started in the energy sector and have been the result of initiatives of the Government?

The Minister of Energy and Energy Industries (Sen. The Hon. Finbar Gangar): Mr. Speaker, under the United National Congress administration, the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries has succeeded in revitalizing the entire energy sector of Trinidad and Tobago in both the upstream and downstream subsectors. [Desk thumping] This has been achieved with the overriding Government philosophy that the natural resources of the Republic must be used for the benefit of the citizens of the country. During the term of office of this administration, the energy sector has remained the dominant sector of the economy and has become the major catalyst for growth and development.

The United National Congress administration is committed to widening and deepening the industrial base of the country to create wealth and employment for the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Projects have been initiated in both the upstream and downstream subsectors and a summary is given hereunder.

(a) Upstream Under the United National Congress administration, special emphasis has been placed on attracting investment projects in the exploration subsector. During this period 13 production-sharing contracts have been signed giving production companies the right to explore for hydrocarbons off the coast of Trinidad. The award of these contracts has resulted in the contribution of TT $558 million to the Government via signature bonuses and the companies are committed to spending 199 Oral Answers to Questions Friday, July 23, 1999 US $446 million in exploration work over a five-year period. Over the last three and a half years the natural gas reserves of the country have grown from eight trillion cubic feet in 1995 to 22.5 trillion cubic feet in 1999, an increase of almost 200 per cent.

The Government has rationalized both state and Petrotrin land acreage and awarded exploration licences for the Moruga Block, the Eastern Block, the Central Block, the South West Peninsula, East Brighton and Brighton Marine. It is expected that these awards would revitalize exploration activities on land to the highest level in 20 years. In order to resuscitate land production the Government introduced in 1998 a new royalty formula for marginal fields which is expected to impact positively on production levels.

(b) Downstream.

One of the United National Congress administration’s greatest achievements has been its ability to attract and execute major capital investment projects in the natural gas-based sector. Some of the major projects undertaken include—

• The Atlantic LNG project at a cost of US $935 million. This represents the largest single investment ever in the Caribbean and the first LNG plant to be built in the western hemisphere in the last 25 years. The project agreement, excluding gas pricing, was negotiated by the UNC administration.





• The Farmlands MissChem Ammonia plant with a capital cost of US $300 million. Site relocation from La Brea and subsequent revision to the project agreement were negotiated by the UNC administration.

• The PCS Nitrogen Ammonia plant—capital cost of US $300 million.

Project initiated under the UNC administration and project agreement, including fiscal incentives and gas pricing, were negotiated by the UNC administration.

• The Ispat DR3 Mega Module—capital cost US $240 million. Project initiated under the UNC administration and project agreement, including fiscal incentives and gas pricing, were negotiated by the UNC administration.

• The Cliff & Associates HBI plant—capital cost US $159 million. Gas pricing negotiations were concluded under the UNC administration.

200 Oral Answers to Questions Friday, July 23, 1999 [SEN. THE HON. F. GANGAR]

• The PPGPL Expansion—capital cost US $150 million. Project initiated under the UNC administration.

• The TTMC IV Methanol Plant—US $300 million. Project initiated under the UNC administration and project agreement, including fiscal incentives and gas pricing, were negotiated by the UNC administration.

Mr. Speaker, at this time other projects are under development and these

include the following:

• The Norsk Hydro Aluminium Smelter—capital cost US $1.6 billion. A project agreement has been signed.

• Atlantic LNG Train 2 and 3 Expansion—capital cost US $1.1 billion.

Negotiations are currently in progress.

• The Ethylene Complex—capital cost US $1.0 billion. Proposals from short-listed investors are expected by July 30, 1999.

• The CNC Ammonia plant—capital cost US $300 million. Gas pricing and fiscal incentives have been agreed.

• Gas to Liquids Plants—capital cost US $300 million. Gas pricing has been agreed.

• Atlas Methanol Plant—capital cost US $300 million. Gas pricing and fiscal incentives have been agreed.

• Compania Vale Rio Dolce (CVRD) steel district—capital cost US $700 million. Negotiations are currently underway.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion I wish to quote from Energy Day magazine (a Lloyd's List publication) of June 1999. In an article headlined “Gangar moves

Trinidad forward” it states:

“Trinidad and Tobago's energy ministry has sprung back to life since Finbar Gangar arrived there in November 1995.” [Desk thumping] “In the short space of 3-1/2 years, more has been achieved on the energy front than in the previous 10 years.” Mr. Speaker, this aptly sums up the performance of the energy sector in Trinidad and Tobago under the Panday administration.

201 Oral Answers to Questions Friday, July 23, 1999 Mr. Valley: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the hon. Member would be kind enough to tell us, of the projects which are, in fact, indicated, as the question asks, which of these projects were, in fact, the initiative of his Government? And being— [Interruption] Hon. Members: All.

Mr. Valley. Just be honest.

Mr. Speaker: No. 72—[Interruption] Mr. Valley: Mr. Speaker, am I getting an answer to the question?

Mr. Speaker: No, I thought that you wanted the same questions addressed. He answered you. If you wanted to ask a supplemental question, indicate supplemental.

Mr. Valley: Supplemental, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: I got the impression you were asking the same question.

Mr. Valley: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. My humble apologies. I am simply asking him to clarify, for my own benefit, which of the projects indicated as being in progress is, in fact, the initiative of the current Government?

Sen. The Hon. F. Gangar: Mr. Speaker, I have clearly outlined that in my response; the answer is all. [Desk thumping] Constitutional Cases (Information On)

72. Mr. Kenneth Valley (Diego Martin Central) asked the Attorney General:

(a) Would the Attorney General identify the constitutional cases won by the State since the enactment of the Republican Constitution?

–  –  –

The Attorney General (Hon. Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj): Mr. Speaker, this honourable House is hereby informed that the Chief State Solicitor's Office, which is part of the Solicitor General's Department, is responsible for the enforcement of costs awarded by the court in favour of the state. Mr. Speaker, a constitutional motion is a new remedy created by the 1962 Constitution of 202 Oral Answers to Questions Friday, July 23, 1999 [SEN. R. L. MAHARAJ] Trinidad and Tobago. This new remedy gave to the High Court the jurisdiction to declare actions of the state, whether of the judicial, legislative or executive arm, unconstitutional and to grant redress to applicants in respect of those contraventions.

The court has an absolute discretion to determine whether a successful party in such a motion should receive costs or not. The court can even refuse to order costs in favour of the successful party. The winning of such a motion by the state would not, therefore, automatically entitle the state to an award of costs in its favour from the Chief State Solicitor’s Office in respect of constitutional cases won by the state since the enactment of the Republican Constitution in 1976 shows that the state has been successful in some 148 matters.

Thirty-four of those matters were determined since the present administration assumed office in late 1995. In 41 of those 148 matters the court did not make an order for costs in favour of the state, although the state won those matters, in that the constitutional motions were either dismissed or withdrawn. The court, in exercising its discretion to award costs against an unsuccessful applicant, can take into consideration the ability or potential ability of the unsuccessful applicant to pay those costs. This accounts, Mr. Speaker, for the court not making awards, of course, in favour of the state where the state won constitutional motions against applicants who were death row prisoners.

The constitutional cases won by the state are identified in an appendix. In this appendix information is given with respect to the action number, the names of the parties, the nature of the order for costs and whether costs have been paid or not.

1.45 p.m.

Mr. Valley: Mr. Speaker, please. We have time and I would really like the hon. Attorney General to indicate the matters where costs were awarded and costs have not been demanded by the state.

Hon. R. L. Maharaj: Mr. Speaker, I am answering the question. The Chief State Solicitor’s Office has informed me that in respect of the enforcement of costs by the state in constitutional matters, the policy which has been in existence since 1962 is that the state must enforce orders for costs. The Chief State Solicitor’s Office, however, has stated that it has complained since the 1970s that the office does not have the necessary human and other resources to effectively enforce orders for costs in favour of the state. In order for this honourable House to understand the difficulties which the Chief State Solicitor's Office has 203 Oral Answers to Questions Friday, July 23, 1999 encountered in this regard, it is necessary to outline the process to be undertaken by the state to enforce costs.

Before a demand is made for the payment of costs which are to be quantified,

the following process takes place:

(1) The preparation of the bill of costs.

(2) Taxation, computation of the bill of costs by the Registrar of the Supreme Court.

This is a judicial hearing in which arguments are heard by the court on each item of costs contained in the bill of costs. Each side is entitled to be heard.

(3) The sum is then computed, but no action to enforce the costs can be taken until the court issues a certificate known as the a la coutoure (4) A dissatisfied party can apply to have the tax bill reviewed again by the Registrar, and if he is dissatisfied, he could then appeal the order of the Registrar to a judge.

Mr. Speaker, having obtained the Registrar’s certificate, the Chief State Solicitor’s Office would write to the other side making a demand for payment of the amount. The records show that in 99 per cent of the cases, there is refusal by not responding. In order to enforce the costs as tax, the successful party will have to conduct an investigation into the means of the unsuccessful party to determine whether the unsuccessful party either owns real property or has other property including money so that the judgment can be enforced against that property.



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