20 years later: Piarco airport commission of enquiry report finally unwrapped…

By Ria Taitt
May 28, 2023 –

Basdeo PandayIt has remained under wraps for two decades.

The Sunday Express has however obtained a copy of the report of the commission of enquiry into the Piarco Airport Development Project, a subject which has poi­soned the political bloodstream of Trinidad and Tobago with allegations of corruption on a grand scale and counter-­allegations of political witch-hunting.

The report of the commission of enquiry, which examined the project from April 2002 to August 2003, found “serious breaches, inclu­ding acts of massive corruption, greed, conflicts of interest, inequality of treatment, favouritism, gross misconduct, irregularities, improprieties and mismanagement by many, including ministers of the former (UNC) administration”.
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7 thoughts on “MASSIVE CORRUPTION”

  1. Mr Panday must account
    WE were happy to see former prime minister Basdeo Panday looking strong, composed and relaxed as he celebrated his 90th birthday with family and friends last week. Age and retirement, however, do not erase his obligation to account for the massive corruption scandal that occurred under his watch as prime minister and for which the people of this country continue to pay a hefty price.

  2. Ria should do everyone a favour and explain the cost of the inquiry starting with the $880 million Linquist report and the over $220 million to prosecute Ish and Steve, along with the 20 year cost of the inquiry.
    Meanwhile the airport cost $1.6 billion. And is the premier airport in the Caribbean.

    “Piarco International Airport has once again been named the Best Airport in the Caribbean by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. This is the third consecutive year that Piarco has copped this award. The announcement was made at the World Airport Awards in Amsterdam on March 15th. Piarco International also ranks third in the region with Panama’s Tocumen International coming in at number one and Costa Rica’s San Jose International ranking second.”

    Sins of the PNM whilst the PNM media will focus on UNC corruption… let’s look a bit at a number of PNM construction and cost over runs..

    *Ch­agua­nas Cor­po­ra­tion ad­min­is­tra­tive com­plex–over bud­get by $10 mil­lion–24-month de­lay.
    *Chancery Lane com­plex–$300 mil­lion over bud­get–24-month de­lay.
    *Gov­ern­ment cam­pus and Le­gal Af­fairs tow­er–$300 mil­lion over bud­get–18-month de­lay.
    *Wa­ter­front project–$1.3 bil­lion over bud­get–six-month de­lay.
    *Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry tow­er–$300 mil­lion over bud­get–20-month de­lay.
    *Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre–$234 mil­lion over bud­get–one-year de­lay.
    *South PRC–$238 mil­lion over bud­get–13 months over­due.
    *Bev­er­ly Hills Hous­ing–$106 mil­lion cost over­run–65-month de­lay.
    *Lara Sta­di­um–1.2 billion cost over­run–41-months de­lay.
    * Diplo­mat­ic Cen­tre–$700 mil­lion cost over­run–five-month de­lay
    Joseph Ra­hael–de­lays and cost over­runs on sev­er­al of those projects–Cou­va Ju­nior Sec­ondary ($172 mil­lion), Barataria Ju­nior Sec­ondary ($149 mil­lion), Pleas­antville Ju­nior Sec­ondary ($150 mil­lion)

  3. I am always amazed how they like to put Panday face as the face of corruption. But you don’t see Manning or Rowley face when it comes to corruption.

    Strange isn’t it! Yes Panday was the Prime Minister when the airport was being built. He did not build the airport the contractor hired by UDECOTT built the airport. He did not tell the contractor to tief!
    When it comes to Lara stadium the cost from $238 million rose to $1.6 billion. Calder Hart the favoured one under the Manning administration. Why no inquiry there?

    The airport has paid for itself and is rated as the number one airport in the caribbean. When Skytracker brings out their report it is footnote in the newspaper with Panday face absent. But if it’s a corruption report on Piarco, it is always front page headline with of course Panday face there…

  4. The comments here are utilizing the common tactic of misdirection. We are being urged to not focus on the issues contained in the report, but instead let us raise other issues not contained in the report. The old “sins of omission versus commission” parable ….nice try. We not falling for no sleight of hand. We are focusing on the contents of the report and not going to look away at some other shiny object. Veritatem loquor.

    1. After 20 years and over $220 million spent just in government legal fees. Keep focusing.

  5. It is evident that there was corruption of great magnitude here involving members of government. One cannot ignore previous corrupt practices such as the Caroni Racing complex, Gene Miles exposing the gas station racket, sugar, petroleum industries, Plipdeco, etc. etc.,. If in law precedents are quoted to administer justice then we should also look at precedents of corrupt practices to understand the fiber of such that runs through every echelon of our society when we are blind sided with poverty is a crime. Let the truth be told and looking forward to reading an exercise in waiting “The history of corruption in T&T’

  6. Roy Mitchell From the Express
    Roy Mitchell in this article has exposed the operating procedures of the PNM since its inception.
    In this article he has attributed these political tricks to Farley and the THA.
    He may be right, but in doing so he has finally disclosed the PNM’s formula for winning elections and governing T&T for the vast majority of years since Independence.

    Pressure continues to mount for Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Farley Augustine to clear the air regarding the widely circulating audio recording, the subject of extensive nationwide shock.

    As he grapples with the imbroglio in which, it appears, he has thoughtlessly placed himself, he is wedged between a rock and a hard place. If he confesses, apologises and repents, as is expected if the audio voice is his, he verily admits to having committed an offence likened to misbehaviour in public office and exposes himself to being placed under police investigation, if not already initiated.

    Moreover, he is left to fight for his political future and that of his new political party.

    One of the pitfalls into which political novices are easily entrapped is that, overnight, their feet become too big for their shoes. They refuse taking a page out of the books of predecessors of supremely higher calibre than themselves. Farley had the benefit of following in the footsteps of a select cadre of esteemed THA Chairs and Chief Secretaries of outstanding integrity and decorum: self-made influential leaders who walked with kings and kept the common touch, were never known to be disrespectful to others regardless of station in life and represented Tobago with courage, compassion and distinction: indelible exemplary lingering legacies.

    Disrespecting the nation’s Prime Minister and overstepping legally established central government authorities were always transgressions for which Farley and his cohorts would one day have had to face such consequences as are dictated by the norms of civilised society.

    It has become the custom for such legislators to dismiss contending opponents’ policies, decisions and programmes by straining to overshadow them with virulent propaganda. In the crossfire, the legitimacy and integrity of worthy causes are sacrificially undermined.

    Over the years, exponential subversion of the principles of democratic governance has suffered propaganda to conjure up the current despicable, distasteful and aggravating overtone; grossly inimical to the best traditions of democratic societies, where people are free to share views, express opinions, deliberate and arrive at consensus on how they wish to be governed.

    Astute politicians spare no time or effort in understanding the socioeconomic, cultural and political environment within which they function, if they genuinely desire to focus on the welfare and well-being of their communities. It is one of the fundamentals ascribed to the few political parties that endure, while the great majority struggle, live perilously, self-destruct and disappear. But they all have one thing in common: they fit the bill in sync with the insightfulness and instinctive discretions of the electorate.

    It was the infamous Nazi Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler, who weaponised the power of propaganda, manipulating it to maintain supremacy, implement devastating policies, and justify the extermination of millions of Jews. It led to propaganda having such a contemptible connotation forever after.

    In his book, Mein Kampf, Hitler himself tells the story, quoted as having advocated:

    “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

    “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”

    “By the skilful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.”

    Shades of Donald J Trump, Aren’t they?

    Today, propaganda’s main contemporary purpose is to use the art of deception to lead people into thinking or acting in specific ways for motives that are patently unworthy; not in the public interest. That is the nature of the plot in which Farley was allegedly planning to engage himself and his peers: attempting to utilise public funds for political propaganda purposes.

    Another famous Nazi leader, Joseph Goebbels, espoused that the function of propaganda was to attract followers and keep them in line by oversimplifying thoughts and reducing them to easily amenable messages, thereby presenting the complex processes of political and economic life in the simplest terms, carry them into the street and hammer them into the brain of the little man.

    That is what the audio clip was about: a one-way process whereby Tobago’s interests would not necessarily have been the priority concern and, if truth had to be sacrificed to achieve whatever the desired objectives, so be it.

    The spoken word cannot be erased. Deceitfully dispensed, they live to haunt us forever.

    Chief Secretary Farley may have gone too far, played the wrong hand. He must man up, repent and face the consequences.

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