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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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Mr. Deputy Speaker, on the last occasion I had indicated to the honourable House, and I will repeat it again: that on Monday we will do the Regional Health Authorities Bill, the Trinidad and Tobago National Steel Orchestra Bill and the Minister of Agriculture has to wind up the Forests and Sawmills (Amdt.) Bills.

We will attempt to complete the Legal Aid and Advice Bill and probably start the Domestic Violence Bill, then there is a Land Acquisition Motion.


Order for second reading read.

The Minister of Information, Telecommunications, Training and Distance Learning (Dr. The Hon. Rupert Griffith): Mr. Deputy Speaker, I beg to move, That a Bill to provide for the incorporation of the Little Flock Christian Mission and matters incidental thereto, be now read a second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am quite familiar with the Little Flock Christian

Mission. The aims and objectives of the organization, as stated in clause 3, are:

“(a) to promote and encourage religious, social, educational and cultural activities so as to improve knowledge, strengthen discipline, generate love, peace and unity among members and the public at large;

(b) to give assistance to the needy and underprivileged through humanitarian services and charitable ventures;” Also, this organization has helped many organizations, not only in Trinidad and Tobago, but also in the Caribbean region.

I am familiar with the charitable work they have given to Christian organizations such as the Abundant Life Ministries, The People's Church and several other ministries.

252 Little Flock Christian (Inc’n.) Bill Friday, July 23, 1999 [DR. THE HON. R. GRIFFITH] The Little Flock Christian Mission also assists tremendously with many private organizations. They are involved in rehabilitation and halfway houses. So,

this objective, I know, is fully met by this organization. The clause continues:

“(c) to provide support to other Organisations with similar aims and objectives;

(d) to assemble its members together in worship of Almighty God for mutual edification and Christian fellowship in Christ Jesus;” So the aims and objectives are clear and I know they have fulfilled these objectives.

I beg to move.

Question proposed.

Bill accordingly read a second time.

Bill committed to a committee of the whole House.

House in Committee.

Clauses 1 to 9 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Preamble ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to, That the Bill be reported to the House.

House resumed.

Bill reported, without amendment, read the third time and passed.


Order for second reading read.

The Minister of Trade, Industry and Consumer Affairs and Minister of Tourism (Hon. Mervyn Assam): Mr. Deputy Speaker, I beg to move, That a Bill to provide for the incorporation of the Horticultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago and for matters incidental thereto, be now read a second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, this is a relatively simple Bill, but very important to the Horticultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago, a society which has been in existence for a long time and has represented Trinidad and Tobago very proudly abroad at some of the most important flower shows like Chelsea and Birmingham.

They continue to make a very important contribution to development of horticulture in Trinidad and Tobago and, as a matter of fact, gives impetus to the 253 Horticultural Society (Inc’n.) Bill Friday, July 23, 1999 export development of the horticulture industry. As a consequence of this, we have been approached with a view to having the society incorporated in order that it can conduct its affairs in a manner that is more befitting such an organization.

The Bill is very simple because it merely sets out the procedures for the incorporation, how it should conduct its affairs and what is required of it in termsof its dealing with the Registrar General and change of address and how it is going to conduct itself in terms of its offices and so forth. In short, the Bill merely indicates how the Horticultural Society will operate as an incorporated body.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, I beg to move.

Question proposed.

Bill accordingly read a second time.

Bill committed to a committee of the whole House.

House in Committee.

Clauses 1 to 9 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Preamble ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to, That the Bill be reported to the House.

House resumed.

Bill reported, without amendment, read the third time and passed.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: We have two matters on the adjournment. The Member for Toco/Manzanilla.

Misspending of Funds (Monte Cristo Park) Mr. Roger Boynes (Toco/Manzanilla): Mr. Deputy Speaker, I rise to discuss the matter on the motion of the adjournment, which is the misspending of funds at the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation in relation to the recent opening of the Monte Cristo Park in July, 1999.

Now, Mr. Deputy Speaker, when this said park was opened—and we were blessed in Sangre Grande with many distinguished gentlemen—what the then chairman sought to do was to ensure that at all and any cost the Member of Parliament for Toco/Manzanilla should not be there. So what one found had 254 Misspending of Funds Friday, July 23, 1999 [MR. BOYNES] happened was that they deliberately failed and refused to invite the Member of Parliament for Toco/Manzanilla to the opening ceremony of that park. What one finds happening is that apparently, they do not understand that if anything has to be done in a Member of Parliament’s constituency, the people should be invited to that. But since one cannot accommodate all the people from Toco/Manzanilla at that particular opening ceremony, what one finds is that the representative of the people would be invited.

But, you know, they decided to play cheap politics at the launch to try to see if they could dominate the proceedings in that particular area in the run-up to the elections, so they opened the park, they wanted seven out of seven, but that was not to be. So much so, that they planned a lavish celebration at the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation so that they could feed the “marish and the parish”. Well I tell you, they had rum, they had dumplings, they had fish, wild meat, and scotch flowed like water that very day.

4.15 p.m.

As a matter of fact, while I was walking through the streets of Sangre Grande, I met this fellow who stopped me. He had a bag, and in the bag he showed me four bottles of scotch. I asked him where he got that. He said, he just took it from the table of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation. Scotch flowed like water that day.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, when I did my investigation, the cost of that whole celebration for a few hours came up to the tune of over $91,000.

Hon. Members: Ooh! Rum and whisky.

Mr. R. Boynes: When I did my investigation yesterday I understand that $55,000 was paid already, and there is a balance of the difference from $91,000 still to be paid as a result of that celebration. I did further investigation, Mr.

Deputy Speaker, because the person who they took to prepare the meals and from whom they bought the rum and scotch is a fellow named “Horse”. Everybody knows “Horse” in Sangre Grande. He is not a licensed caterer, but he is the Chairman’s—Mr. Verne Richards—personal friend, so he was given the contract.

So what he did—and this is coming from “Horse”, the horse's mouth—he told me that yesterday he subcontracted the work and charged them bar prices. That is what he did. He charged them bar prices, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

They could have gone to Economy or Budget Foods Supermarket in Sangre Grande and bought the rum and scotch from the grocery and get grocery prices, 255 Misspending of Funds Friday, July 23, 1999 but oh no, that was not to be in Sangre Grande on the 22nd day of June in the year

1999. They went by “Horse” and paid bar prices for drinks to the tune of $55,000 for the whole celebration with tents and all kinds of things coming up to $91,000.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, the number of roads—Jacelon Bridge in Vega De Oropouche—still need repairing and I can go on and on, but the people of Sangre Grande have spoken and this is something which I want Parliament and the national community to appreciate because there is a situation of which I would speak in the next Motion where the Sangre Grande Hospital does not have money to buy blood, but yet we could spend $91,000 to have a celebration for a few hours.

Thank you.

[MR. SPEAKER in the Chair] Dr. Rowley: Start to wine.

Hon. D. Singh: Bring “yuh” wife.

Dr. Rowley: Start to wine, start to wine.

Hon. D. Singh: Bring “yuh” wife.

Mr. Hart: “Weh yuh” powder?

The Minister of Local Government (Hon. Dhanraj Singh): Mr. Speaker, the Monte Cristo Park was formally opened on June 22, 1999. The Sangre Grande Corporation is responsible for the maintenance of parks, among other things. On that day, after many years of waiting for that park to open, and the history of that park, the corporation did have a public opening in which I was invited to attend as the Minister of Local Government. I am not aware of the invitation not being extended to the Parliamentary Representative for Toco\Manzanilla, but I saw him there sitting in the front row of the reserved area.

Hon. Member: He stormed the party. [Crosstalk] Mr. Speaker: Order please.

Hon. D. Singh: Mr. Speaker, it seems that the Member for Toco/Manzanilla, out of spite and malice, has come here today to raise this question of the cost of that function. I am advised that the cost of the function was being financed or assisted by the business community of Sangre Grande. The business community will be bearing the brunt of the bill for hosting the function, and according to 256 Misspending of Funds Friday, July 23, 1999 [HON. D. SINGH] information supplied to me, the cost of the function was approximately $39,000 for the formal aspect of the function.

Mr. Speaker, I could understand the Member for Toco/Manzanilla being quite jealous that we were able, after so many years, to open the facility which is an “A” class facility. The Member speaks about misspending and misappropriation of funds with regard to the opening, but he must not forget when they gave illegal contracts to Mr. Mootilal Deosaran to undertake works on the Monte Cristo Park. Up to this date he has not been able to collect moneys of over $330,000 which he is requesting from the ministry because of illegal contracts given by the Chairman of the Corporation. That is the true misappropriation of funds and they must speak about it.

On June 22, 1999 the people of Sangre Grande had something to celebrate.

The park was long overdue in coming and now they have the park. The people of Sangre Grande and the corporation, the people who manned that corporation were voted by the people of Sangre Grande and they decided to have a function to celebrate. The Member, out of spite and jealousy, has raised that and come to speak about the function. Do not forget Mr. Mootilal Deosaran. He is still waiting on the $330,000 for works he did in the park and cannot get it. The Solicitor General’s Office has ruled that the contract is illegal and we cannot pay him. It was done under PNM time and they sit there as Pontius Pilate and casting aspersions on people who are trying to do their work.

Thank you.

Mr. Bereaux: And you drank, you got drunk, and you wined.

Mr. Speaker: May I appeal to the Member for La Brea who does not have my leave to raise a matter on the Motion for the adjournment. I have not given you permission to raise any matter but you are having a lengthy conversation with the other side. I suggest to you that is not the way to proceed.

Mr. Bereaux: I take your point, Sir.

Mr. Speaker: Thanks very much.

The Member for Toco/Manzanilla on the crisis situation that obtains at the Sangre Grande Hospital as a result of the non-payment of moneys due and owing to suppliers.

I am sure, hon. Members, that Members both on his side and on the other side would allow him to make his presentation in silence, as indeed, they would allow the other side to answer in silence.

257 Sangre Grande Hospital Friday, July 23, 1999 Sangre Grande Hospital (Crisis Situation) Mr. Roger Boynes (Toco/Manzanilla): Mr. Speaker, this is a sad, sad tale that obtains in Sangre Grande with respect to this particular crisis situation at the Sangre Grande Hospital. Over $2 million is being owed to suppliers of the Sangre Grande Hospital and when the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation can spend $91,000 in rum, scotch and wild meat, it pains the people of Sangre Grande that the Friends of the Sangre Grande Hospital about three weeks ago had to give the hospital $7,000 to buy blood. That is what took place.

The T&TEC van in the space of the last two months came three times to cut the electricity at the hospital. On one such occasion, the Member of Parliament for Toco/Manzanilla had to leave court where he was practising and run down the van, begging them not to cut the electricity at the Sangre Grande Hospital because a man was undergoing surgery.

Mr. Speaker, this is where we have actually reached. I ask the question: where are we now? I took TV 6 up to the Sangre Grande Hospital about two weeks ago.

They saw several of the wards were closed down and I understand there are a few additional doctors supplied to the hospital now. On the said day TV 6 was there, they interviewed everybody in that hospital. Could you imagine the patients were eating rice and a few strips of vegetables. The hospital does not have money to even buy fresh meat, eggs, or tissues. The suppliers are calling me now. That is what is happening you know. The suppliers of the hospital are coming home by this Member of Parliament for their money and that is why I am saying we have a crisis situation at the Sangre Grande Hospital. I raised it a long time ago. I called U&T Electrical Company Limited, about 20 minutes ago and they are still being owed their money.

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