Academies did not skyrocket by $200 million

Contact: Corporate Communications Unit, 627-0083

October 16, 2008:

The Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT), categorically denies that the estimated cost of the Port of Spain and San Fernando Academies for the Performing Arts have “swollen by more than $217 million,” as was reported in the Newsday Newspaper on October 13, 2008.

It must be established from the outset that the construction contract for the construction of the Academies has not changed, as it is a fixed price, design build contract. The financing arrangements were based on an MOU between the Governments of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the Peoples Republic of China for a US$100 million concessionary loan at an interest rate of 2% for 20 years with a 5 year moratorium.

However, the project sum for the Academies has increased due to an increased scope of works. UDeCOTT had to relocate and construct a Sport Facility at the King George V Park, St Clair since the parcel of land on which the former facility stood, formed part of the area specifications for the Academy site. With regard to the San Fernando Academy a sewer line had to be relocated and a retaining wall built.

The King George V Sport Facility, which consists of seven tennis courts, one being international game standard, one netball court, a basketball court and a main building which houses changing rooms, showers, toilets, offices and a cafeteria, came at a price of $17.8 million. Relocation of the sewer line tallied $7.8 million and construction of the retaining wall at $8.25 million.

The Newsday reporter uses as a basis for his erroneous article, a mish-mash of figures that are subsets of amounts brought forward.

He states that the Port of Spain Academy is now estimated at $517.6 million up from a previous figure of $360 million in the 2008 SPSIP.

While the Port of Spain Academy is in fact currently estimated at $517.6 million, the comparative figure shown in the 2008 SPSIP is $502.8 million and not the $360 million the reporter makes reference to.

He states that the San Fernando Academy has swollen from a cost of $250 million in the 2008 SPSIP to $310 million in the 2009 SPSIP, however figures shown in the SPSIP report actually show a reduction in the cost estimate from $335 million in the 2008 SPSIP to $310 million in the 2009 SPSIP.

Of the Port of Spain Academy, he states that UDeCOTT is expected to expend a total of $283.5 million by the end of this year and that expenditure for 2009 is expected to slow to $111.3 million.

The 2009 SPSIP shows expenditure Oct 07 – Sep 08 as $172.5 million and expenditure Jun 08 – Sep 08 as $111.3 million. The report incorrectly combined both figures to arrive at $283.5 million since the latter is a subset of the former. The figure $111.3 million reported for 2009 is correct.

He states that expenditure on the San Fernando Academy for the period Oct 07 – Sep 08 totaled $52.2 million and that projected expenditure for 2009 is $184.3 million.

The 2009 SPSIP shows expenditure Oct 07 – Sep 08 as $41.3 million and expenditure Jun 08 – Sep 08 as $10.9 million. The report incorrectly combined both figures to arrive at $52.2 million since the latter is a subset of the former. The figure reported for 2009 of $184.3 million is correct.

It is regrettable that additional elements of cost such as UDeCOTT’s development fees, project management costs, utilities, taxes and duties, land acquisition costs etc. which are not included in the construction contract, but are disclosed in the public documents submitted to Parliament and which have nothing to do with the contractor or his contract are used to misrepresent the true construction contract cost.

Public Affairs Department

UDeCOTT.

UDeCOTT is developing the structures that form part of the innovation for lasting
prosperity; the development plan of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.