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 Payback for election support by members of a Jamaat in the 2002 General Election,

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Honeylu
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PostSubject: Payback for election support by members of a Jamaat in the 2002 General Election,   Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:53 pm


An estimated $24 million per year is allegedly being funnelled out of the Ministry of Works Tapana Quarry in Valencia as payback for election support by members of a Jamaat in the 2002 General Election, said quarry industry sources.

The quarry, manned by men dressed in Muslim garb and supported by regional corporations of the Ministry of Local Government, has been slammed by quarry experts at both National Quarries and the Quarries Association.

The National Quarries source said the quarry operators “could be pocketing $24 million a year or more and that Central Government, via the Ministry of Energy, could be losing $2.4 million a year or more in royalties at a royalty rate of 10 per cent”.

Quarry insiders estimate that 800,000 cubic yards of pitrun a year is being taken from the Ministry of Works Tapana quarry. At a price of $30 per cubic yard, this works out to $24 million in revenues forfeited per annum.

A quarry operator said the procedure for acquiring a quarry involves a bidding process which was also not followed.

“They never advertise nothing. (The men wearing Muslim garb) never bid for nothing,” he claimed.

A source alleges that the men who run the operation are attempting to muscle small plant operators (who produce sand and gravel from quarried material) out of business.

He said a preacher from Curepe who bought a plant had been threatened. Asked why the Muslim group is doing this, he said: “They want to take it (the industry) over.”

He said several sand and gravel wholesalers, including himself, have also been recently approached by Muslims offering to sell them material.

“I not buying gravel from no (men in Muslim garb),” he said.

The source says the Muslim group has also bought a private wash plant east of the Oropouche River and west of National Quarries, without the permission of the Energy Ministry.

Eyewitnessed!

A man wearing a topee (Muslim skull cap) and claiming to be an employee of the quarry said the quarry was supplying material to “all Government projects”.

A motley assembly of trucks removed material from the Ministry of Works’, Tapana, Valencia site. The trucks’ windshield and door stickers read, “Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation”, “Sangre Grande Regional Corporation”, “V Persad Transport and Trinity Asphalt Pavers”.

Around midday Thursday, a red truck bearing the corporation’s logo and license plate number TBB 8730, and a green truck - TBA 7624 - bearing the Tunapuna Corporation logo were photographed leaving the quarry laden with material.

Abu Bakr’s take

Amid allegations made by Basdeo Panday that the Jamaat had been given the quarry, Jamaat leader Abu Bakr, who had backed the party, claimed it was untrue.

He said he has owned a quarry (on a 493-acre block) in Tatoo Trace, Valencia since the 1970s. Two months ago, when this newspaper visited Bakr’s quarry, which is separate and apart from the now active Ministry of Works Tapana quarry, it was abandoned.

On Thursday, Bakr again denied he or members of his organisation were "running any Government quarry".

Bakr confirmed he was the owner of the Tattoo Trace quarry and said it is the only quarry he knows of.

“The Government never give the Jamaat nothing up to now - not even the lands which they promised to settle. So people only talking what they don't know,” Bakr said.

Drawn out procedure

A source who works at URP said there is “a long outdrawn procedure” to obtain material from the Tapana quarry and that those now in charge “are doing their own thing”. He said, that for example, “if you want 100 loads of material, you make out a requisition and the material will be given to you, based on the going price at Tapana. But you are not supposed to pay in cash”.

They must then submit the requisition number and the amount of loads that were given and this must be sent to the Energy Ministry.

If the quarry wants certain equipment for use at the plant, it could make requests for parts or buy parts, based on the money value of the material given out to the various Regional Corporations, URPs or other Government programmes. “But they are not doing this now, it is a financial disaster in there,” he said. The operators were selling to private individuals at the Government quarry, “collecting money on site and pocketing it”.

On Friday, a man claiming to be URP programme manager Kenneth Collis, in a telephone interview, only said: “The URP and the Regional Corporations have separate pits.” A URP source said this was untrue.

Ministers battle for turf


http://legacy.guardian.co.tt/archives/2003-05-11/news8.html
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