Saying that these issues are giving him “a headache the size of a breadfruit”, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan on Thursday vowed that “heads will roll” once Government gets to the bottom of these matters.
Speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference, Sports Minister Anil Roberts said the former government took out a $497 million loan from First Citizens Bank (FCB) on November 19, 2009 with respect to the stadium.
However he said the stadium’s main contractor Hafeez Karamath claimed “they have not been paid in one year.” Stating that FCB is now asking the new government to pay back this loan, Roberts said Ramlogan and Finance Minister Winston Dookeran are “now trying to find out where that money has gone.”
Noting the cost of the stadium had escalated from $850 million to $1.1 billion and there is no end in sight, Roberts said Government will do its best to complete the stadium, if this can be done.
However, he disclosed that he will recommend to Cabinet that other parts of the plan for the Tarouba project which are not in keeping with Government policy, “be shelved immediately.” Roberts said investment in those areas should be diverted for community sporting projects such as building 25-metre swimming pools.
Ramlogan stated that Government appointed a team to study the Uff Commission of Inquiry’s report and he expects to receive a report from that team in a month’s time.
The AG said once the team’s report is received, “we will initiate where appropriate civil action and take criminal action on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions to seek criminal and civil justice in this matter.”
Ramlogan also said many of his ministerial colleagues have been coming to him “with deals that were shoved through on the eve of the election at the 11th hour.” He claimed these deals have “ virtually handcuffed the Government to all sorts of milestones and critical projects and made the legal commitments which we are now trying to unravel.”