Dick-Forde, line minister for Udecott, said she had no problems with Udecott and was in regular contact with Hart.
She spoke to reporters yesterday at the launch of the ministry’s Household Survey Budget at the Crowne Plaza in Port-of-Spain.
According to Dick-Forde, she receives regular updates on Udecott’s projects.
“Normally we get quarterly reports...the reports focus on expected completion dates give status updates and any commentary that might be useful,” she said.
The last report was received in April.
“The last report I saw I think it was the only the Brian Lara Stadium that would have been a bit behind time.” Additionally, the Minister said, several ministry employees, such as her personal assistant as well as the Deputy Permanent Secretary, attend Udecott’s monthly management committee meetings.
“Mr Hart arranged for two persons...to attend those meetings,” she said. She also disclosed that there was a set system of monitoring in place.
“We have a system of monitoring of where they report to through the Deputy Permanent Secretary. If there are any issues that need to be raised with me they will be raised,” she assured.
However, she could not comment on revelations of costs problems and procedural irregularities associated with Udecott’s projects as were highlighted in yesterday’s Newsday. “We haven’t had an update recently. In fact I was expecting one this morning on their projects and therefore I cannot comment on the extent to which it is actually accurate.” Gaynor Dick-Forde said she has never had any problems with Udecott, and is not aware of any irregularities in tendering procedures for the body.
“ I’m aware of the projects because we are regularly discussing them at Cabinet. So its not an issue of concern to me,” she said.
Yesterday Udecott issued a press release in response to Newsday’s report which pointed out several problems that have hit Udecott’s billion-dollar projects. But, Udecott admitted that work at the $250 million cricket academy and Brian Lara Stadium at Tarouba had started without a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC).
Udecott also said approval for the academy had been obtained by Town and Country Planning and the Ministry of Works as well as the Fire Services.
But it did not respond to claims by Princes Town Regional Corporation vice chairman Winston Chindra that the corporation did not give approval for work to start on the project.
It also said:“Current works at the San Fernando Academy encompasses the building of quarters for workers and a sewer line had to be relocated. Preparatory site works are also being done.”
The release said a CEC was granted “for demolition” on August 11, 2005 and subsequently another application was lodged at an unspecified date.
Further information, it added, was requested by the EMA “on storm water and traffic management.”