Contact: Corporate Communications Unit, 627-0083
May 2, 2008: The Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT), strongly denies allegations made in a May 1, TV6 News report, as well as allegations carried in the Express and Newsday Newspapers dated May 2.
Allegations included poor material, a faulty plan and no approvals for the construction of the Performing Arts Academies.
At no time was sub-standard material used at the Port of Spain Performing Arts Academy and the design plan is not faulty. These principles apply to all projects under the purview of UDeCOTT.
UDeCOTT also refutes the assertion that work on the project came to a halt. This statement is both untrue and mischievous.
Both the contractor and the project manager at the Port of Spain Academy, Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) and Genivar, in letters to UDeCOTT itemized the reports as not true and highly inaccurate.
The correspondence from SCG and Genivar explained that due to a late arriving steel shipment, a decision was made to purchase locally available steel.
As a consequence, SCG together with Genivar took all necessary measures to ensure that the utilization of the locally obtained steel and the steel previously used on the project, would not in any way compromise the design and structural integrity of the Academy.
There was never any “damning report” by Genivar alleging the use of poor materials and a faulty plan as said by a TV6 reporter.
With regard to claims of a stoppage, SCG indicated that there has been no work stoppage and work continues today as it has for the past months.
While there was a limited shift on May 1 (May Day) International Labour Day, a Chinese National Holiday, there was no work stoppage. On a daily basis the lunch break starts from 11 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. (the hottest period of the day), hence pictures taken during the lunch break will evidently show that no one is on site. As work resumes in the afternoon, it continues for extended hours into the evening and night.
With regard to information in the Newsday on the Performing Arts Academy in San Fernando, CEC 1075-2005 was granted for demolition on August 11, 2005.
Subsequently, another application was lodged with the EMA and they wrote requesting further information on storm-water and traffic management.
Current works at the San Fernando Academy encompasses the building of quarters for workers and a sewer line had to be relocated. Preparatory site works are also being done.
With respect to the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, it has been given CEC clearance, CEC 1040-2005 issued October 27, 2005 and outline approvals. Sub-division approval was given for the creation of the site and an approval from Town and Country Planning was received on March 6, 2008. UDeCOTT also has approvals from the Ministry of Works and the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Services.
Public Affairs Department