Kamla: PM Linked to Church

Lighthouse of the Lord Jesus Christ Church under construction at the Heights of Guanapo - Inset: Prime Minister Patrick Manning
Lighthouse of the Lord Jesus Christ Church under construction at the Heights of Guanapo - Inset: Prime Minister Patrick Manning
Kamla: PM Linked to Church
…Calder Hart too

By Anna Ramdass

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday produced documents purporting to show a direct connection between Prime Minister Patrick Manning and former UDeCOTT executive chairman Calder Hart in the design and construction of the Lighthouse of the Lord Jesus Christ Church at the Heights of Guanapo, Arima.

Persad Bissessar said she will send these documents, together with a request for an investigation into possible criminal conduct by the Prime Minister under section 3 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, to the Commissioner of Police (CoP) and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Full Article : trinidadexpress.com


Letters Link PM, Hart to Church

By Andre Bagoo

CORRESPONDENCE released by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday, which disclose apparent links between the construction of a church at the Heights of Guanapo and Udecott, make references to the Prime Minister’s Residence and Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s and raise questions over a possible direct connection between Prime Minister Patrick Manning and the project.

The documents make reference to someone referred to as “the PM” and also show that the Town and Country Planning Division granted final approval for the church on April 16, the same day Manning announced the May 24 date of the General Election.
Full Article : newsday.co.tt


‘You left me to face an impassioned woman’

By Anna Ramdass

A signed letter by architect Stephen Mendes showed that former UDeCOTT chairman Calder Hart had introduced him to Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s spiritual adviser, Juliana Pena, who convinced him (Mendes) to prepare the design for the Guanapo church.

The letter, which shows Hart’s direct involvement in the church’s designs, was released by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday at a press conference.

Mendes’s letter, dated February 26, 2010, was sent to Hart at UDeCOTT’s office at Sackville street, Port of Spain.

According to the letter, Mendes clarified his role and position in the project after receiving a phone call from Town and Country Planning Division for information on an application made in his name, which he did not know about.

Mendes reminded Hart that in November 2005, after completing a meeting with him at the Home Mortgage Bank offices, he (Hart) asked him to meet a lady who required his assistance.
Full Article : trinidadexpress.com

PNM says it’s ‘dirty tricks’

13 thoughts on “Kamla: PM Linked to Church”

  1. Patrick Manning and his government have refused to clear the air on this issue and, as such, have given reason for suspicion over the Guanapo church-building exercise. The onus is on Patrick Manning and his government to PROVE that this information is incorrect and to clear the air on the Prime Minister’s and Calder Hart’s involvement in the construction of this church. Simply saying that Kamla’s revelation is a hoax just would not fly.

    Who is funding that construction?

    How did the Shanghai Construction Group (which built the Prime Minister’s 300 million dollar residence and the National Academy of the Performing Arts) get involved with that church given that they are a firm from China which is operating in Trinidad on a government to government contract?

    Were taxpayers’ funds used in that project?

    Was the cost of building the Prime Minister’s residence or NAPA inflated to cater for that church?

    Until these and other questions are answered satisfactorily I am inclined to believe what Kamla has presented.

  2. The Nation wants to know:

    Ø Whether Prime Minister Patrick Manning was in fact personally involved in the church

    Ø Why did he see it fit to donate over five hectares of State lands for essentially a splinter group merely two years old

    Ø Was the $30m used for the construction from this project being paid for by the State

    Ø Who hired Shanghai Construction to build this project?

    Ø Why was the project going ahead without requisite EMA and Town and Country Planning approvals

    Ø How come nobody took any steps to ensure that the country’s laws were not broken.

  3. For the same reason T-Man why it was impossible to prevent any laws from being broken in the Airport scandal and subsequent cover up by his drinking buddy Basdeo Panday , the one time head of your UNC. What’s your point? Are you trying to do our independent Judiciary’s job for them? Fortunately Our new AG in waiting , namely former CJ wannabe Justice Volney-com overnight MP , will soon be in power ,to straighten out this mess , and eventually restart that long dormant case.
    And no , we do not care if Manning stole 500 million over 40 years in power like one o dem crooked Nigerians Generals a la Ambacha, we still want to see Panday go to jail as well ,for stealing 100 million over his four years in power , capiche?

  4. I Know No One Is Without Sin.I wondered Why Mrs Bissessar Said Nothing about the Airport Scandal.As a woman myself I know everyone must be given a fair chance to aspire to great heights I applaud her for that.But after Tonights Interview With Shelly Dass A debate With Mr Manning would never have worked in her favor.He was much clearer when getting his points across and was far more articulate, than she was .She should have been more prepared to answer some of the burning questions .Like Abortion , Capital Punishment ETC. Too much time spent rambling on MANNIN.I Do Think you need you need more time to sort out your business, Then The Country’s.God Bless.

  5. $38M ‘variations’ on PM’s Residence
    BETWEEN 2006 and 2008, there were $38 million in “variations” on the price of the Prime Minister’s Residence and Diplomatic Centre, which would have been funded from the State’s Infrastructure Development Fund, a Newsday review of the project discloses.
    The findings of the review, which has unearthed fresh contractual discrepancies in the Udecott project, will deepen concern over allegations that funds spent on the project could have been siphoned to pay for the construction of a controversial church at the Heights of Guanapo, Arima.

    Kamla: Letter was to UDeCOTT chairman
    Prime Minister Patrick Manning has yet to all out deny that the information presented on Saturday by the UNC, which purports a link between UDeCOTT, Shanghai Construction and the Lighthouse of the Lord Jesus Christ Church, is false.

    Clear the air on the church
    THE Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI) yesterday called on Prime Minister Patrick Manning to deal properly with serious allegations now facing him over his possibly direct involvement in the construction of a private church using State resources.

    Guanapo questions
    GETTING straight to the heart of this matter concerning the alleged involvement of the Prime Minister in the construction of the mega church in the Heights of Guanapo, the Prime Minister should provide full disclosure to the country. Citizens are entitled to hear directly from Mr Manning, following the disclosure of what appears to be authentic documentation provided by the Leader of the Opposition on Saturday. The statement of denial issued by the ruling party in the wake of disclosures is unsatisfactory and incomplete.

    ‘PM’ MAY not mean me
    Manning responds to letters on church controversy
    Prime Minister Patrick Manning said last night that the word ‘PM’, which appears at least twice in documentation relating to the church at Guanapo Heights, could mean project manager.

    Govt official: It’s not true
    “NOT TRUE!” was the comment given by an official from the Ministry of Works and Transport yesterday regarding a correspondence released by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Saturday, which disclosed apparent links between the construction of a church at the Heights of Guanapo and Udecott.

    Manning concedes: Udecott cut corners
    Prime Minister Patrick Manning last night conceded that State enterprise Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (Udecott) may have “cut corners” in order to deliver on its mandate. Manning also stated that the governance model with Udecott and other special purpose and state enterprises “require improvements.” He said such companies “cut corners all the time,” but that this was done in order to get around bureaucracy and to meet the demands placed on them. Manning identified Housing Development Corporation (HDC) as one state enterprise which the Government has had to “fix.” He said there have been similar circumstances at local government bodies.

    Kamla promises further probe
    People found committing crimes in “cutting corners” at the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (Udecott) will be made to do time in jail, prime ministerial-hopeful Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said. Persad-Bissessar stressed that “none shall escape.” She said: “I do not care who you are, from highest to the lowest, we will go after you…I make no bones about that.”

  6. An Untruth
    Manning’s statement on church raises more questions than answers, says Kamla

    Experts: Who’s funding church?
    Political scientist Selwyn Ryan, political thinker Michael Harris and attorney Timothy Hamel-Smith said yesterday that the Prime Minister’s explanations about recent documentation apparently implicating him in the construction of a church at Guanapo Heights had raised more questions than provided answers. They also said that the issue of where the funding for the church came from required further investigation.

    PM has more to answer
    CHAIRMAN of the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute Victor Hart yesterday warned that Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s admission that he assisted his personal spiritual adviser in a church project raises the prospect of an “abuse of office” falling afoul of international ethical rules against misconduct.

    Guanapo church architect Mendes on sick leave
    ARCHITECT Stephen Mendes, the only man who will be able to clarify what was meant by the acronym ‘PM’ in the documents allegedly showing a connection between Prime Minister Patrick Manning and former UDeCOTT executive chairman Calder Hart in the design and construction of the Lighthouse of the Lord Jesus Christ Church at Arima, was said to be on sick leave from his firm yesterday.

    DPP: Gaps in Hart probe
    The police probe into allegations that former Udecott executive chairman Calder Hart allegedly committed perjury during the Uff Commission of Inquiry has hit a snag.

  7. The problem is bigger than Mr. Manning and so he is not totally to blame. He inherited a CLOSED SYSTEM – the PNM party- and that is to blame. PNM is an enclave organism which, by nature, had no tolerance of external input. Calloused by his strong obstinacy, the founder Dr. Williams survived with this exclusivity until the end, when he crashed. CLOSED SYSTEMS INVARIABLY STIFLE ON THEIR OWN STEAM.
    The system was already overheating when Manning took over. And here is the quandary. The leader cannot get inspiration or new ideas from his burnt-out flock and they cannot get it from him. He tries to recycle them..which explains the old faces being paraded over and over again eg. Ralph Maraj, Rowley. When he tries to inject enternal blood, he is too naive (baby-face Manning) to sense that they are scamming him – see Rao, Hart etc.
    Without new blood the organism is dying rapidly.
    And a note to Manning – you cannot get new blood from drunken juveniles or pregnant candidates.

  8. puzzledone, you also cannot get new blood from stuttering clowns and baldheaded Sp-talkers not to mention BENCH warmer turned player

  9. I find it odd that the Queen Kamla said NOTHING when the PNM spent 13 million $ to build the Hanuman staute complete with imported stone and workers from India.

  10. Thanks Mike Sam . What a pity our cheering, enamored corporate media in the interest of objectivity, cannot see it fit to offer this and similar information , so that the uninformed voters ,would not be stuck with some ‘cat in bag,’ when the euphoria of the blind wedding is over , and the expectant blissful honeymoon is about to take place come May 25th.
    To our sleeping political pundits, Kamla / Manning personal handlers , and so call local intellectuals , the situation in our country is clear. It’s two competing , and sometimes socially immature tribes fighting for the same things-a bigger piece of the Trini economic pie.

  11. When the government decided to assist with the Hanuman statue, it was not done in secrecy. There were no allegations of corruption surrounding that project. The issue with the Guanapo church is much different, and I know everyone commenting here knows that.

    As per usual with election season, people peddle all manner of untruths. When the election is over and some people want to masquerade as bastions of virtue, the legacy of their vile conduct would remain for all to be reminded.


    By SEAN DOUGLAS Saturday, February 27 2010http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,116420.html

    PRIME Minister Patrick Manning yesterday said a church being built at the Heights of Guanapo is above board, as he accused his detractors of “religious persecution” of him and the Full Gospel faith.

    He gave a 53-minute speech on “Church-State relations” in the Lower House to try to soothe a public outcry over claims the Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) is building a private church, the Lighthouse of the Lord Jesus Christ, for unknown persons on State lands, although he did not name the church’s owner.

    Saying he was free to get spiritual advice from anyone, Manning hit detractors who called one such adviser a “prophetess” or “seer woman” or “obeah woman”, saying, “It is tantamount to the religious persecution of the Prime Minister.”

    Manning stole the glory of new Leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad-Bissessar on her first day of replacing former leader Basdeo Panday who sat on the backbench. Manning said neither State funds nor influence over Udecott had helped the church, whose head he denied was his travelling companion.

    “I want to point out from the very onset that the church is not being built with State funds, that the building constructed does not belong to the Prime Minister, that the church is owned by the Lighthouse of the Lord Jesus Christ, that neither the Prime Minister nor any member of the Government gave any instruction to Udecott regarding the construction of the church.”

    At each assertion, Government MPs loudly applauded.

    He angrily denied the church head accompanies him on all his travels.

    “Mr Speaker, the gross inaccuracy of that statement has already been dealt with years ago in the Benny Hinn matter and it need not detain us at this time. Suffice it to say, Mr Speaker, it is grossly inaccurate and I don’t propose to spend any more time on it.”

    He said Cabinet has never approved funds for any such travel by the unnamed pastor. “There is no Cabinet decision authorising any payment for the head of the Lighthouse of the Lord Jesus Christ to travel to any part of the world…No State funds are involved in the foreign travel of the head of that church.” Manning then said the country’s Constitution guarantees each person freedom of worship and of association. “Everybody’s free to pursue the belief system to which he subscribes, and everybody’s free to be advised as he or she sees fit, by whoever he or she wishes.”

    Manning said Catholics consult their priests.

    Identifying Hindu MPs, he said, “When the member for Siparia or the member for Fyzabad or the member for Oropouche East, consults their pundit or their guru, Mr Speaker, for spiritual advice, nobody says anything is wrong about that.” He said no one complains of Panday visiting India to consult Sai Baba.

    “But when the Prime Minister decides that he will seek spiritual counselling from whomever he wishes, the first thing they say is ‘Was it obeah?..Seer woman?…Prophetess?’” He called “prophetess” a disparaging term. “It is tantamount to religious persecution of the Prime Minister. Not only that. The Prime Minister is consulting somebody who is an ordained pastor, Mr Speaker, in the cause of her movement and who’s a born-again Christian.” Government MPs applauded. “It is time, Mr Speaker, that the Full Gospel movement in this country, that born again Christians in this country, stop accepting the denigration of their faith, and in particular by people who know none of their beliefs or who have no clue of the premises on which your beliefs were (built)…”.

    “You get up and say something about Hindus, you make that mistake…You get up and say something about Muslims…,” he said recalling a fatwa given to Salman Rushdie by Muslims. “I’m not advocating that for Trinidad and Tobago, but this persecution of the Full Gospel movement has to come to an end.”

    At that Tabaquite MP Ramesh Maharaj lightened the tension by saying aloud, “Amen”.

    An angry Manning then gave a one week “deadline” to two news reporters to reveal a supposed “spiritual experience” they had probing the church.

    He stormed, “After the interview they had a spiritual experience the likes of which they have never had before. The media will be the first to tell you the public has a right to know. I am calling on those two journalists whom I will not name at this time, nor will I name the media house, to report totally, completely, accurately and faithfully exactly what happened in that experience.

    “I know all about it. I am in a position to audit what they say. Mr Speaker, I am giving them one week in which to do it. I’ll tell you this much about it. It put the fear of God in their hearts and I am sure they are re-thinking their position.”

    At those words many listeners muttered, “spirit lash”.

    Accusing UNC MPs of duplicity, he claimed Panday had once written to ask for the regularisation of Mc Bean Road Extension Mandir which “squatted” on State lands.

    Manning said he doesn’t drink or smoke, but had been raised by his mother, who sang in two church choirs, to have strong spiritual beliefs. “I’ll attend any church, that’s my right! I’ll consult whom I wish for spiritual advice.”

    Earlier Manning said his Government has given millions of dollars to fund denominational schools, even as his and previous governments had also given away State lands to build religious buildings.

    He said the Office of the Prime Minister, in its ecclesiastical grant, had given sums to different denominations including $1,157,000 to the Roman Catholics, $711,000 to the Hindus, $505,000 to the Anglicans and $403,000 to the Muslims.

    Manning said the proliferation of religious groups meant it was getting harder to distribute the grant which he said must be re-thought.

    Manning read a list of State lands given to religious groups over the years. “It has been the practice of this Government and others preceding it to make lands available for the construction of places of worship.”

    He recalled past concerns about how Caroni (1975) Limited had once been distributing State lands in central Trinidad for religious buildings in what he called a “free for all”.

    Manning said since 2005 the Government had paid $279 million out of the $363 million cost of eight government assisted denominational schools.

    He then attacked what he saw was bias in how other governments had allocated funds to schools. Manning said there was a “miscellany of interpretations” of the former NAR government’s placement of all nursery schools under the control of Servol headed by Fr Gerry Pantin, at a time when his brother Clive Pantin was Education Minister and his brother Anthony Pantin was the Roman Catholic Archbishop.

    He said Full Gospel churches had lobbied the State for schools but the movement was too fragmented until 1991 to 1995 when he was able to persuade pastors to form an Association of Independent Ministers. He lamented that the 1995 UNC government had then given $14 million only to Miracle Ministries to build a $20 million secondary school, rather than give to the association. He said the UNC government had also given 25 acres of land to just one Spiritual/Shouter Baptist group headed by a former UNC senator, instead of to the whole denomination overall.

    Manning then addressed queries about his visit to the Heights of Guanapo by saying that on the contrary no one had ever questioned his visit to the Hanuman statue in central Trinidad which the State had helped finance to the tune of $2.35 million. Likewise, he said while people query Chinese workers at the Heights of Guanapo, no one argued about craftsmen from India at the Hanuman statue.

    Manning said between 2003 and 2009, the Government had funded the social work of religious groups to the tune of $245 million. “I don’t see anybody making a fuss about that,” he said.

    He said no one argued when the UNC government gave $10 million for the Hindu group, SWAHA, to build a temple in Diego Martin. He said the many calls at present for State funds for religious groups meant the construction of churches must be done by congregations, not the Government.

  13. neal

    May 18, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks Mike Sam . What a pity our cheering, enamored corporate media in the interest of objectivity, cannot see it fit to offer this and similar information , so that the uninformed voters ,would not be stuck with some ‘cat in bag,’ when the euphoria of the blind wedding is over , and the expectant blissful honeymoon is about to take place come May 25th…..Quote

    I my opinion the local media is very partisan and seriously influenced by ppl like Jack Warner.

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