23 Mar 2010

Cronyism on the sly

The Editor

There's an issue I've wanted to add to the ever ongoing charges of misuse of public funds which I think can be brought into the public forum.

In San Fernando, in proximity to the San Fernando Technical Institute (Costat) there is a huge area of land reported to belong to former POS Mayor and Minister of Health John Rahael. A few years ago, work began in clearing the land and building a roadway diagonally across the land to connect to the San Fernando By-Pass. Everyone assumed that the land was being developed for commercial purposes.

Early in 2009, Prime Minister Patrick Manning surprisingly announced that the access road leading from the By-Pass to the SS Hochoy H/way had a major fault beneath it and the authorities may have to condemn the road. I say surprisingly because this country has had a "South" Prime Minister for the past two decades passing on this very road at least once a week. Surprisingly also because the goodly Prime Minister is a qualified Geologist and should have recognised from this qualifications and by merely driving (or being driven) on this road that there was a serious problem with this road for at least ten or fifteen years before he even became Prime Minister.

In hearing Mr Manning's disclosure, I suspected that something was about to happen and this statement was but a smokescreen to what was about to unfold.

Within two to three weeks of Mr Manning's revelation, work suddenly started on a multi-million dollar bridge to connect the access highway road to the already existing diagonal road that links to the By-Pass. The construction (I understand) was being undertaken by Beaver Construction and the client was Mr Rahael. I have been told however that Mr Rahael, in the presence of close friends had disclosed that the funding for this project was made available by the Government. Added to this, it has also been rumoured that the diagonal roadway was also built with public funds. Though no public announcement has yet been made, I foresee that the new bridge and road will be used to divert traffic from the badly eroded section of the access highway road. The Ministry of Works will simply divert traffic at the appropriate time in order to effect repairs to the access roadway and the public will be none the wiser.

I suspect that if the issue ever arises, the Government will have covered their arses by justifying the spending, having already disclosed to the gullible public the unhealthy state or the road. So far, parcels of lands in this development have already been sold to US firm K Mart (a few years ago) and more recently Toyota of Japan.

So it seems that as rental for the roadway, the Government has opted to spend the money for a private enterprise instead of effecting repairs which should have been done fifteen or twenty years ago. It's also a case to former PNMites and financiers still emptying the country's treasure for personal gains.

I hope this can be investigated to determine the truth.