In trying to cover up the incompetence and corruption of the PNM, Minister Anthony Garcia deliberately misled the House of Representatives during the debate on the night of 13 May, as he no doubt would have felt intense shame at his mismanagement, lack of accountability, transparency and probity at the Ministry of Education.
With regard to his claims of the ECCE Education Centres that he is falsely trying to take credit for the construction, the facts reveal clearly that these were undoubtedly constructed by the People’s Partnership Government.
These can be found in the Reports of the Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL) to the Ministry of Education which were done on a regular and yearly basis.
The facts reveal that as General Elections loomed in May 2010, the then Patrick Manning administration had awarded 22 contracts to the South Korean Haji Group of Companies to construct ECCE centres with construction start dates in April and May of 2010, with 24 May being the date of the General Election.
When the People’s Partnership Government took office in 2010, we were saddled with the responsibility to construct these 22 ECCE centres which the minister falsely claimed they did. These contracts were awarded by the Manning administration to the South Korean Haji Group of Companies to the value of $60 million. This company abandoned these projects and fled with the $60 million, never to be seen again in Trinidad and Tobago.
That was another example of PNM’s corruption and mismanagement of the public purse while now Prime Minister Rowley and Minister Imbert were in Manning’s Government at that time.
It was up to the People’s Partnership Government to construct the schools from our budgetary allocations in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Final completion of all these (ECCE) schools occurred in 2012 and 2013 when they were all finally opened and operational.
With regard to Minister Garcia’s misleading, deliberate, mischievous claims regarding the remarkable primary school construction under the People’s Partnership Government, here are the facts, taken from the EFCL Programme Status Report for the period ending Feb 2015:
Construction of Primary Schools by PP Government :Tunapuna Government Primary School – Opened 2011– Penal Rock Road SDMS – Opened 2011–Palo Seco Government Primary School – Opened 16 January 2012 –Lengua Presbyterian School – Opened 10 January 2012 –Arima New Government School – Opened 11 April 2012 –Monkey Town Government Primary School – Opened 2 September 2013 –Enterprise Government Primary School – Opened April 2013 –Manzanilla/Nariva Government Primary School – Opened September 2014 — Rose Hill RC School – Opened January 2014 – Egypt Village Primary School – Opened September 2014 – Point Cumana RC School – Opened October 2013 –Paramin RC School – Opened February 2015 — Penal/Quinam Government Primary School – Completed 2015
The PNM’s corruption debacle of the Haji Group with regard to the ECCE centres looms large. The facts of our 106 schools constructed under the People’s Partnership Government from 2010 to 2015 can withstand all scrutiny and audit, nationally and internationally. The People’s Partnership Government under the leadership of Kamla Persad Bissessar stands proud of its school construction achievement.
Dr Tim Gopeesingh
Member of Parliament for Caroni East
Former Minister of Education