Criminal probe of Udecott

Former executive chairman of Udecott, Calder Hart
Former executive chairman of Udecott, Calder Hart
SINCE LAST year, Acting Commissioner of Police James Philbert was asked by two successive Acting Directors of Public Prosecutions to investigate Prime Minister Patrick Manning, Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira and former Udecott executive chairman Calder Hart, yet to date Philbert’s probes into all of these matters have not been completed.

PM returns home quietly, flies out again today

Criminal probe launched in September—Jeremie
Some 24-hours after new Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard ordered a police probe into allegations of wrongdoing by former executive chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) Calder Hart, Attorney General John Jeremie said a criminal investigation into Hart began since last year.

Criminal probe of Udecott
Jeremie did not explain why it only took Udecott’s court action to trigger the Lindquist probe. He also offered no explanation for utterances by members of the Cabinet who defended Udecott since last September and who appear to have been ignorant of the Lindquist probe.

Lindquist goes after Hart
AG: Criminal probe launched since September

A CRIMINAL probe was quietly launched last September against Calder Hart, the former executive chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT).

Police team gears up for probe in Malaysia
A team of police officers, assigned to the Anti-Corruption and Investigations Bureau, are preparing to travel to Malaysia to probe allegations against former executive chairman of Udecott Calder Hart.

One heartbroken lady
EMILY Gaynor Dick-Forde, the Minister of Planning, Housing and the Environment, said yesterday she was preparing a statement to explain her comments which were carried as the front page lead story in yesterday’s Express.

Minister: Allegations affecting T&T’s soul
Trinidad and Tobago’s soul has been affected by allegations against UDeCOTT, former chairman Calder Hart and the Government.

Dick-Forde: Hart attacks brand Govt as corrupt

‘Hounding’ as vice and virtue
As a self-described ‘Christian with a big C’, Housing Minister Emily Gaynor Dick-Forde should be familiar with Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:3, ‘Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?’ Nonetheless, this Minister, who played a key role in the false allegations made against Diego Martin West MP Keith Rowley with respect to the Cleaver Heights project, has accused the media and the people of Trinidad and Tobago of ‘hounding’ former UDeCOTT chairman Calder Hart out of office.

That’s insulting, Ms Dick-Forde
If anyone has to feel “ashamed” about anything, it is Minister Emily Dick-Forde and her Cabinet colleagues for the manner they have handled the issues surrounding Udecott and the allegations of corruption with regard to the award of contracts and the procurement of goods and services. Not once in the more than three to four years of allegations, contract failures, obvious mismanagement of projects has this Government come forward with a statement of concern for the integrity of the expenditure of billions of dollars, the patrimony of this and future generations. Instead, all the country has had are staunch and on occasion quite illogical defences of Calder Hart and Udecott without a substantiating statement based on government oversight of this state agency.

Government’s shame
WITH the greatest irony, we must “agree” with Planning Minister Emily Dick-Forde’s remarks to reporters during the Senate tea-break on Tuesday that circumstances of the resignation of Udecott head, Calder Hart, are a cause of great shame. However our reasons are startlingly different to those of Dick-Forde.

JCC writes DPP on Hart
The Joint Consultative Council (JCC) has written to Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard, asking that he probe whether Calder Hart committed the crime of perjury by lying under oath at the Commission of Enquiry into The Urban Development Corporation of T&T Ltd (UDeCOTT) and the construction industry.

Hart living in lap of luxury

‘I don’t want Hart’s job’
Dr Krishna Bahadoorsingh, deputy chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) said he does not want the job of executive chairman.

Enill: Let DPP, CoP do their jobs
PEOPLE’S National Movement party chairman Conrad Enill has said his party does not have the capacity to verify whether or not the documents purporting to show a family link between former UDeCOTT chairman Calder Hart and a company to which UDeCOTT gave a multi-million-dollar contract are authentic.

‘NIPDEC board must quit too’
The Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI) has called for the resignations of the remaining directors of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) as well as those of the National Insurance Property Development Company (NIPDEC).

The women behind the men
Mrs Calder Hart, who left the country with her husband and child, reportedly removed a lot of furniture and possibly some other things too, has much to answer for, but she has been the queen of silence.

6 thoughts on “Criminal probe of Udecott”

  1. The people of T&T are exited by the prospect of an investigation of Calder Hart and Udecott, but they should be cautioned that nothing will probably result from any such investigation. The recent utterences of the AG Jeremie and the Minister of Housing,Emily Dick Forde, suggest that the Government has no quarrel with Hart and unlike Rowley, finds no fault with Hart.
    The problem with any investigation in T&T, is that a probe will not be impartial, or it will be delayed interminably, especially if it is being conducted by the Police and Philbert, a commissioner and a force dominated by the PNM and controlled by the Prime Minister.Newsday has published a list of apparent stalled investigations presently being conducted. The corruption continues.
    “Among the investigations Philbert has not yet completed are:

    • an investigation, recommended since May 21, 2009, into Prime Minister Patrick Manning in relation to claims made by Jamaat leader Yasin Abu Bakr that Manning had entered into an agreement in relation to the 2002 General Election;

    • an investigation into Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira, recommended even earlier on March 20, 2009, over the issue of conflict of interest stemming from the minister’s holding of assets in subsidiaries of the State-acquired CL Financial Group;

    • an investigation into Calder Hart, recommended since December 2009, on the basis of evidence which emerged in the Uff Commission of Inquiry which linked Hart to the Malaysian firm Udecott awarded $820 million in contracts. Asked yesterday about the status of all of these investigations, Philbert said, “those investigations are ongoing.”

    The PNM has made Investigator Bob Linquist a multi millionaire. He now has one more job to probe Hart.Would his report which will probably be ready in years to come, be favourable to the Prime Minister, his employer? T&T has arrived.It has now reached “full banana republic status”.The PM has just returned from his regal romp in London and is quickly departing for Dominica, refusing to comment.Figure it out Trinis! You are in for great disappointment as this fizzles out to nothing, and as Hart is “cleared”.

  2. I have said many times taht all that is going on in this Udecott matter is well planned and executed.

  3. T-Man , you are getting a bit irritating with this PM this ,PM that, PNM controlled police service nonsense. Where do you think this is Pakistan, China , or Nigeria ? You have more that enough independent oversight bodies , and folks of integrity throughout the legal fraternity ,that can see that the police do their jobs.If our media , and the mass of people ,demands actions the government has no other choice but to comply. Let them dare to ban Carnival, Pagwah, Parang, Hoosay, the Queen’s birthday , or big brother America’s 4th of July Independence celebration , for one year and see the results.
    Investigating, and getting the facts is the easy part T- man , as was proven in the criminal discoveries on your one time PM in waiting , the politically corrupt leader uncle Panday ,his cooked business pals ,and close confidant /friend Chief Justice Sharma. The real problem is what is to be done after the evidence is presented, as you guys are so enamored with 19century Privy Council senile , antiquated Jurists interpretations that our laws and Constitutional rights as a nation are treated with utter contempt.
    By the way ,isn’t this alleged shady Caldar Hart character, from your neck of the Canadian Maple leaf , hockey stick slashing, beer guzzling woods? Perhaps you should be more outraged about the likely hood that folks from your much adored ,adopted country ,are also white color crooks and bandits as well.
    Somehow you never thought that would happen, as we were led to think that this is a 3rd world phenomenon, and everything that emerged from the advance developed North must be fine and dandy ,ehh?
    What is even more amusing about this pathetic matter , as well as the PM’s seerwoman ,church /land construction snoozer ,garbage story , is the fact that the subtle outrage is leveled at the government for bypassing our numerous local corrupt construction engineering contractors , as they choose to opt instead for Chinese ,and any foreign entity that could be conjured up. The contempt for our people does not stop there, our local doctors aren’t good enough so we must import Cubans and Nigerians. Our nurses can tell a needle from a test tube so we need Filipinos . Our police are incompetent dunces, so we need British Scotland Yard blokes .
    It is therefore why T-Man so much importance lies in wrestling political power away from pompous , self opinionated ,Papa Manning and party , as it gives one an opportunity to maintain strangleholds on the economic and social spoils that can accrue within the parameters of a fledging democracy, agreed?
    Keep the faith, and for heavens sake a bit of optimism , and less cynicism will you?
    Now my friend,as a prominent UNC advisor I suggest that you get to work , and help the leader to draw up a coherent, manifesto , with sound people oriented policies that can counteract that which the arrogant PNM can continue to feed the nation.
    Tell Madame Kam to quickly put necessary alliance pieces in place , and think 36 seats long term strategies, as anything short of that by your leader is mere teasing of the populace. You of all people knows fully well what can result from such time wasting gestures , when hopes are build , then dashed . It is not only frustrating , but a major psychological disappointment for all involved.
    I would even suggest drinking her bush rum with some bitter alloes and lime in the manifestation of the Mason Hall Kid Dr. Rowley. Don’t worry , he ain’t no Ropbbie , and won’t steal the political thunder of the leader with the bigger slice of the political pie.
    But then, I stand corrected , for what do I a simple peon knows about these and similar delicate political affairs ?

  4. Afra Raymond’s analysis is detailed and comprehensive.
    A must read for all contributors on this site.

    From: Afra Raymond’s Blog

    The resignation of Calder Hart as Executive Chairman of UDeCOTT and all four other major Boards he chaired is no surprise to me. None whatsoever. I had already noted in this space the consistent false claims and bogus rationales emerging from that individual.
    One of the main ones is the ‘Anancy-story’ that all these new buildings would reduce the rents paid by government for offices. Those false claims of savings to the public purse were often repeated by the PM and his then Minister of Planning and Development, Camille Robinson-Regis, but they were withdrawn when challenged to let us have some figures. By my calculations, the UdeCOTT offices will cost this country about 3 times MORE per square foot than the space now occupied. Hart has consistently declined/refused or ignored my several requests for information on the touted savings.
    We need to locate this moment firmly in context, so that we are not fooled, again, into seeing these issues too narowly. Some main issues are –
    Rationale – If we are to do better with our limited resources, we need to behave differently. Before we can behave differently, we need to think differently. This entire UDeCOTT/Calder Hart/JCC/Imbert/Rowley/Uff scene has been useful in that huge areas, previously hidden, have now been revealed. It is an opportunity for us to learn from our mistakes. In my view, the weak spot in the link is that we have no proper system for project origination, selection and ranking. We need to start asking the essential questions – ‘What are we proposing?’ and ‘Why are we proposing that?’
    Cabinet-Approved? – We need to be mindful of the PM’s address to the Senate on 13th May 2008 – see – in which he emphasised that all UDeCOTT’s projects were carried out with proper Cabinet approval – after a thorough process – and that that organisation enjoyed his full confidence. One is now bound to reflect on the implications of the doctrine of Cabinet solidarity – one for all and all for one. Does the Cabinet as a whole share in the political cost of Mr. Manning’s vote of confidence? If Mr. Hart’s actions were indeed Cabinet-approved, why the need for him to resign? If he is guilty of ‘going too far’, does the doctrine of collective responsibility apply here? Do his fellow Board Directors share in that responsibility? How far does the stain spread? Are the other companies Hart chaired OK?
    UDeCOTT’s procedures – For example, UDeCOTT was shown at the Uff Commission to have separate tendering rules from those applicable to other State Enterprises. Even with that special approval in hand, UDeCOTT found it necessary to breach its own tender procedure. Other shocking evidence of improper practices emerged at the Uff Commission, so one can understand their strong attempts to derail that enquiry. The public should brace for a critical report with many unpleasant revelations. The report of the Uff Commission must be published without delay or dilution.
    UDecott’s board – On Monday morning, I was disgusted, but not surprised, to read about the flat refusal of the other UDecott directors to step down. Some real predictable alibis there – ‘Innocent until proven guilty’, ‘needing more information before a statement could be made’ and, of course, the classic one, ‘squeaky-clean’. The most worrying aspect of UDecott’s shambles is the steadfast silence on its audited accounts. I published ‘End-notes on the Uff Commission’ in this space on 17th December 2009 – that article highlighted Hart’s opaque explanation for the lack of accounts for UDecott. UDecott is the largest State Enterprise and, at the Uff commission, its attorneys stated it to be a $20Bn + company. We have all heard over and over from the PM that it is the best-performing State Enterprise. The lack of audited accounts since 2006 is shocking. No accounts for 2007, 2008 or 2009 and that could never be exemplary or squeaky-clean. It is obvious, to any one with an shred of sense, that a company which was unable or unwilling to publish audited accounts for three years has serious issues, none of them likely to be positive. I doubt that the Unit Trust would buy, or continue to hold, shares in a company which had failed to publish accounts for three years. I doubt that any prudent or proper investment house would do so. What is worse, UDecott has offered no cogent explanation for its failure to publish accounts. The difference with UDecott is that we are constitutionally unable to divest ourselves of those shares. It seems to me that the contemptuous attitude of those at the top is informed by this reality.
    Hart’s testimony – Calder Hart, under oath, denied the allegations made by Carl Khan as to the link between the owners of CH Limited and himself. Given what has transpired here, is Hart guilty of lying to the Commission? Is that a criminal offence? Readers need to note that the instant Calder Hart’s and UDecott’s attorneys refused to question testimony of Carl Khan, it was tantamount to an admission of the truth. That refusal to cross-examine Carl Khan was almost 6 months ago, so this trusted civil servant was given time to prepare before his resignation. Not everyone is offered that sort of courtesy and consideration, as Dr. Rowley’s case shows. It is a clear case of double-standards. Calder Hart appears to have enjoyed a most favoured status, for whatever reason.
    Manning’s judgement – This entire sorry episode casts a shadow of doubt over the quality of judgement exercised by our Prime Minister. Consider that since Carl Khan filed his evidence in May, Calder Hart must have known that his days were numbered. Did Hart tell Manning that there was truth to the accusations? Yes or no? Did Manning ask him? Did they just keep on with the relationship long after a wise person would have broken it off?
    Finally, we need to deal with the widespread belief that after all is said and done, the country is better off as we have gotten many new buildings for our money, even if a few things went wrong, or too far. I do not support those views, for three reasons –
    Firstly, none of the UDecott projects make any commercial sense. Even NAPA, which is supposedly of some cultural or artistic importance is now being seriously questioned by many responsible groups.
    Secondly, what we are hearing is a version of ‘the ends justify the means’ and that is not an acceptable path to developing any modern country. Every time we have tried that, the costs far outweigh the benefits. That is the strategic and moral bankruptcy which took us to this sorry place.
    Lastly, we need to remember that most of UDeCOTT’s projects were paid for with borrowed monies, which we are only now starting to repay.

  5. Integrity Commission to be sworn in Monday

    Lawsuit forces President’s hand
    …tells judge he’s appointing new Integrity Commission on Monday

    Indo-Trinbago Equality Council president: An historic victory
    President of the Indo-Trinbago Equality Council, Devant Maharaj, yesterday described the move by President George Maxwell Richards to appointment a new Integrity Commission on Monday as an ‘historic victory’ for the citizens of the country.

    PM must talk to us
    When, Newsday respectfully asks, can we expect to hear from our Prime Minister Patrick Manning on the Udecott/Calder Hart issue?

    Kamla ‘shocked’ by AG’s statement
    Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday that the shocking, bizarre and sudden announcement by Attorney General John Jeremie that a criminal probe was launched into Calder Hart, former executive chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) since last September, has raised even more questions about the Prime Minister’s continued support of Hart and his ‘knowledge of and compliance with the whole sordid matter’.

    Love of ignorance
    Questioned by reporters last week about the family link between Calder Hart and the directors of Sunway Construction Ltd, Works Minister Colm Imbert responded testily: ‘I don’t know these people’. Public astonishment followed. How could the Works Minister not know the construction czar of Trinidad and Tobago?

    Hart’s defenders will have to go also
    Another “extraordinary” statement coming from a government minister, this one expressed by none other than Attorney General John Jeremie, who reminded us in his first public utterance of importance on the Calder Hart/Udecott matter that he is the “legal adviser to the Cabinet and the guardian of the public interest.”

    Shredding the public purse
    Far from defending the public purse, therefore, the Manning regime has ripped its seams and scattered the country’s gas and oil largesse to the winds. This is why the Government had to present a deficit budget last year, and why the country now has to borrow money to fund infrastructural development, and why the public discerns a grasping desperation in the property tax legislation. If, therefore, the Attorney General were indeed to do all he could in defence of the nation’s wealth, he should really start by indicting his own colleagues.

    Probe Udecott projects in Tobago
    Minority Leader Ashworth Jack is calling for a forensic audit into Udecott projects in Tobago.

    Manning still full of praise
    Several weeks after a criminal probe was started into allegations of wrong-doing by former Executive Chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) Calder Hart, Prime Minister Patrick Manning remained high in praise for the then Udecott head.

    Burden of shame falls on minister
    President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions (Fitun) and social activist David Abdulah has said that the statement by Minister of Housing, Planning and the Environment Emily Dick-Forde that citizens should be ashamed of themselves for “hounding” down Calder Hart says “a lot about where her values lie.”

    ‘We know people vex’
    CABINET members, particularly Information Minister Neil Parsanlal, yesterday went on the defensive over Calder Hart’s resignation as Udecott executive chairman, as public outrage over the Government’s handling of the Udecott affair continued.

    Govt concerned as anger boils over Hart
    Information Minister Neil Parsanlal has described the Calder Hart/Udecott issue as an imbroglio.

    ‘Govt aware of peoples’ anger’
    The Calder Hart affair

    Government is aware that the people of this country are angry over the entire Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd (UDeCOTT) controversy, Information Minister Neil Parsanlal said yesterday…

    Govt owe$ Uff investigator

    US$3,000 to probe Hart family
    The Congress of the People (COP) revealed yesterday it spent US$3,000 (TT$18,900) to obtain from Malaysia, copies of the birth and marriage certificates of the relatives of former Udecott executive chairman Calder Hart which show a family link to Sunway Construction Caribbean Limited.

    De Lima dares AG: Publish Lindquist report
    Congress of the People (COP) executive member, Vernon De Lima, yesterday dared Attorney General John Jeremie to make public, the report from the investigations by Bob Lindquist into UDeCOTT chairman Calder Hart.

    No need for replacement
    ‘UDeCOTT can run smoothly without Hart’

    THE Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) does not need an executive chairman in the wake of the sudden departure of Calder Hart, deputy and acting chairman, Dr Krishna Bahadoorsingh, said yesterday.

    All ah we t’ief again
    The next national poll, hard-hitting parliamentarian Dr Keith Rowley told the House last October, “will be the Udecott election.”

  6. So now we are forced top endure a long list of litanies , and woes via a blog as regurgitated by the likes of T-Man via overpaid blogger, and possible Opposition agent , Afga Raymond ,about is it Canadian Calder Hart, belatedly outraged political Shitzu yapper Dr. Keith Rowley, about countless other PNM governmental ,so called corruption misdeeds .
    Unfortunately T-Man , these alleged mismanagement atrocities would not shift the political meter one way or the other for the bearers of misdeeds, since the voting public population across Sweet T&T are unconcerned and or bored to death, especially when it looks like a bunch of black skinned kettles, are reminding the pots that their bottoms too are black.
    Kinds of remind me how I got my first indirect foray /taste of T&T rum and roti politics at the tender age of 18.It was 1979/80, I had just got my first government job at the recently opened million dollar Mt Hope Maternity Hospital in Champ Fleurs .However ,for one entire year just prior to general elections, I witnessed close to 500 pregnant women on the verge of delivery of their precious babies , not being able to do so , since doctors , nurses ,administrators, and expensive equipment lay idle, as patients were whisked away to POS , since the hospital was not officially functioning , but an electioneering ploy by the then government of the day. Care to guess who was the Minister of Health at the time ? You guessed it,Aranguez MP Karmaludin Mohammed of Mastana Bahar , and bogus ADB loans for absentee farmers fame. Kamal was doing his party’s biddings to secure the Moslem votes , while Energy Minister Errol Mahabir of scandalous Japanese Garden fame , was doing the same to secure the Hindu vote. This was in similar ways to Johnny O Hallaran was allowed to seal from the country left right and center to build his Canadian fiefdom under the watchful eyes of the grateful Dr. Williams.Well why not, his French creole financial political supporters had to be tossed an expensive bone as well, did they not ,at our people’s expense , eh T-man?
    Of course ,when the dust is settled ,phony intellectuals , Opposition Media giant Pat Chokolingo’s Blast, Bomb , and Mirror, objective journalist,as well as independent anti corruption gurus ,had the cameras on , they forgot to mention these and other subtle intricate cultural scenarios when pointing fingers.
    Even as far back as then ,uncaring, carnival loving ,Parang , Pagwa, and Hosay adoring Trinis,were fairly savvy, and today more so than ever. Many are fully aware when they are being given a 6 for a 9 by unscrupulous ,ambitious politicians, their spokespeople, and close handlers. T-Man – no matter how well disguised like an Inshan Ali , Lance Gibbs, Nanan ,or Raffiqe Jumadeen’s googoly,leg break , or off spin.
    In looking at the real end game, I would venture to go out on a limb right now T-Man , and predict that come snap election , the final results would be 30 to 6 in favor of the incumbent in a much fairer Jimmy Carter observed -if you like -election ,than anything close democratic neighbor Jagdeo of Guyana could ever muster up. I wish you well my friend.
    Remember , politics is not for the weak hearts.
    I remain , our ever respectful ,un paid political advisor.

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