TT legal experts swear affidavits in Florida courts
By Ria Taitt, Newsday, Sunday 09 2002
Two well-known Trinidad legal personalities have filed affidavits in support of a motion filed by the US company Calmaquip, aimed at squashing the subpoena of the Commissioners of the Piarco Airport inquiry. The motion was filed on June 22, 2002, in the US District Court for the Southern District before Judge Bandstra.
Sunday Newsday understands that the US American Equipment supply company, Calmaquip is seeking to quash or nullify the Commissioners subpoena for documents related to the Piarco Project. The motion aims at preventing the discharge of information.
Calmaquip was awarded a US $50 million (TT$300M) maintenance contract at the Airport. The company has been called by the Commission, now sitting in Port-of-Spain, to appear before it, but it has not responded to the commission's request to put in an appearance. Sunday Newsday was informed that one of the legal experts has stated in his affidavit that the information is being used for political purposes. This affidavit was filed on July 24, 2002. The affidavit of the other expert is based on a point of law. This one was filed on June 21, 2002. The case number of the motion is 02-20871 and CIZ-SEITZ/BANDSTRA. Since the inquiry began in Port-of-Spain on August 23 the Chairman Clinton Bernard has been calling the name of Calmaquip every day but there has been no response. Calmaquip was given the contract for CP13 for in September 1999 for "procurement, manufacturing and installation of equipment and financing of the equipment".
Calmaquip however obtained a loan to carry out this exercise, backed and guaranteed by Ex-Min Bank and the Trinidad and Tobago Government.
The Lindquist Report on the Piarco Project described this award as "flawed" and said there was a lack of control in the disbursement of funds from the Airports Authority to Calmaquip.
Originally the maintenance of the Airport was broken up into several small contracts but it was decided to combine all into one big contract which was given to Calmaquip and which effectively cut out smaller local companies which did not have the equipment and expertise to qualify for this large contract.
Attempts to get the two legal experts yesterday failed. The Commission of Inquiry into the airport chaired by former Chief Justice Clinton Bernard has so far revealed breaches of procedures in the award of contracts, flouting of Cabinet's decisions, changes in the tendering rules of NIPDEC (National Insurance Property Development Company). The hearings continue tomorrow at 9.30 am.
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