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Birk Hillman lied but Baksh awarded contract

Abstract: Express

Paul said the curriculum vitae (CV) of Birk Hillman stated that it designed airports in Orlando in Florida, Montego Bay in Jamaica, San Juan in Puerto Rico, St Croix and Aruba.

He said certain members of the task force went to St Croix to look at the airport which Birk Hillman claimed that it had built because they wanted to check on the work the company claimed it had done.

Paul said Birk Hillman lied to the task force when it said it had built the airport in Montego Bay. He said they were just starting the project at that time.

He said Birk Hillman had also said it completed an airport project in Aruba and when the task force decided to go, Birk Hillman said the job was not yet completed.

In responding to questions from lead attorney for the commission Theodore Guerra, SC, Paul said the task force was investigating Birk Hillman but was not investigating Scott and Associates, the other competitor before the task force for the consultancy of the project.

Paul said Scott and Associates had given a guaranteed maximum price of the airport of (US) $62 million. He said from press reports the current cost of the airport was (TT) $1.6 billion.

On another issue, Paul said he found it “strange” that the contract for package six, the construction of the terminal building, was signed by Ish Galbaransingh's Northern Construction Limited (NCL) at 8 pm on March 26, 1997.

Paul agreed with Guerra that this was the same day that cabinet appointed the Justice Lennox Deyalsingh probe and suspended further work on the project.

In response to questions from Clinton Bernard, chairman of the commission of enquiry, Paul said Minister Baksh “flouted” cabinet’s decision by instructing him (Paul) to award the contract for package six to Northern Yorke Coosal (NYC) consortium of which Galbaransingh’s Northern Construction Limited (NCL) was a part.

Paul said this showed haste on the part of Baksh to award the package six contract. He said it was done almost simultaneously with cabinet authorising the Deyalsingh probe.

Trinidad and Tobago News

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