Fishermen and Friends of the Sea - FFOS
Toco Port Squander-mania
National Infrastructure Development Company (NIDCO) has officially revealed that our Government has spent a whopping TT$11M (10,976,794.29 exactly), in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the long “shelved” Toco Port Project.
In reviewing the EIA prepared by ERM West, an American company, the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) identified several deficiencies which had to be addressed before they were able to make an informed, objective and fair decision regarding the determination of the CEC Application. The most appalling among the deficiencies was ERM West’s failure to follow the specific requirements of the Terms of Reference (TOR).
FFOS respectfully request from our Honorable Prime Minister an explanation of his Government’s decision to bypass our local scientists and EIA experts, to retain the services of an international company to conduct the EIA, and at such an inflated cost.
There are several locally owned and locally staffed Environmental Consultancies which are more than qualified to properly assess this project's proposed impacts.
In these times of an imbalance of trade with scarce foreign exchange, and a failing economy, why were our people blanked in favor of a foreign company?
This exorbitant and inflated cost appears to be the most paid for an EIA in the history of our Nation. This money could have been saved. In these times of layoffs and recession, why is this squander mania continuing? Which Minister gleefully approved this inflated cost?
Furthermore, why was the EIA continued if the project has been shelved?!
Why hasn’t the CEC application been withdrawn?
This exorbitant and boldfaced raid on our Treasury is another example of what could have been prevented had the Office of the Procurement Regulator been empowered by the Procurement Regulations and not continue to remain conveniently neutered by recent amendments which have allowed this Government to railroad critically needed third party oversight. Simple loop holes and grey areas continue to be exploited by nefarious leaders concerned solely with the greasy tradition of lining their pockets with Public money.
Unless Governments make decisions that display patriotism and reflect an iota of environmental and financial sustainability, our nation will continue to be bankrupted and branded as a failed state.
FFOS longs for the day when Governments of our beautiful Nation put our people first.