UDeCOTT Refutes JCC Allegations

Contact: Corporate Communications Unit, 627-0083

May 16, 2008

  • UDeCOTT is not and has never been involved in “bid rigging,” as has been suggested by the JCC.
  • 77% of the contracts awarded by UDeCOTT for construction activity, have been awarded to local contractors and 23% are being undertaken by foreign firms.
  • On the consultancy side, 73% of the contracts have been awarded to local companies and 27% to foreign firms.
  • The majority of projects undertaken by the foreign firms are in high rise construction and specialty projects which reflect their experience and ability.
  • If one examines the experience of our local firms in projects of this nature, one will find few local companies with the experience and track record in constructing projects such as the towers in the Waterfront or in the Government Campus projects.
  • UDeCOTT complies with all of our nation’s laws.
  • In the award of contracts for the procurement of goods and services, UDeCOTT is guided by a number of considerations including, but not limited to the price, adequacy and sufficiency of the bid, method statement of the bidders, experience and expertise of the bidders in works of a similar nature, responsiveness of the tenders to the terms and conditions of the tender documents, past performance of the tenderer, the timeframe for completion and work load capacity.
  • UDeCOTT’s tender rules which are based on the principles of fairness and equality clearly state that “no requirements for pre-qualification will be established which will impede or make it difficult for the participation of foreign firms.”
  • The White Paper on Procurement is not yet law.
  • The only contracts awarded to the Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) on a sole selective basis were the Prime Minister’s Residence and Diplomatic Center and the Academies for the Performing Arts. SCG was the firm nominated by the Chinese Government to undertake the works under the terms of the concessionary loan (US$100 million at 2% for 15 years with a 5 year moratorium) for the Academies, which dictated that the design and construction be undertaken by a Chinese firm.
  • Furthermore, UDeCOTT had already pre-qualified and was familiar with SCG having regard to the fact that it was awarded the contract for the construction of the Ministry of Education Tower, where through public tender it was the lowest tenderer by TT$50,751,732.36.
  • Contrary to the perception of some, no special rules or arrangements exists in favour of foreign firms. In fact when they are invited to tender for a job, they do so on the same basis and pursuant to the same tender documents as the local firms.
  • When they are engaged, just as is the case of the local firms, they are engaged on the same fixed price contracts without fluctuation clauses. The fact remains that UDeCOTT operates on a level playing field.
  • What separates the local companies from the international firms is the management and methodology employed on the job.
  • With globalization and the CSME upon us, the viability of our local construction sector and its competitiveness at home and in the region, depends on its ability to adapt to and restructure for change.
  • What local contractors are asking the people of Trinidad and Tobago to do, is to pay a higher price and wait longer for basic infrastructure.
  • Their position is that the needs of the entire population for hospitals, health centers, police and fire stations must be subordinated to their financial interests and undertaken when they have the capacity and capability to undertake the job.

No unfettered access to public funds

  • UDeCOTT does not have unregulated or unfettered access to public funds.
  • There are procedures and processes governing the release of funds to UDeCOTT for a project. These procedures apply and are administered by various parties whether or not the project is being funded privately or by the Government via the IDF.
  • Not all projects are financed by the Government, some projects such as Chancery Lane, Siparia Administrative Complex, Edinborough 500 Highway and the Government Campus were financed by the local banking sector. The Waterfront was funded by financing obtained on the US Private placement market, without a Government guarantee.
  • For UDeCOTT to access funds from the government for projects undertaken for and on behalf of the government, there is a specific procedure to be followed which involves at any one time a minimum of three different Ministries, namely the Client Ministry, the Ministry of Planning, Housing the Environment and the Ministry of Finance.
  • UDeCOTT will invoice the Client Ministry for works done and provide the requisite supporting documentary evidence before it can obtain payment for work done on a project.

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