A no-confidence motion will be filed against Energy Minister Franklin Khan “over the fiasco” surrounding Patriotic’s failed bid for the Petrotrin refinery and “his mismanagement of the energy sector”.
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar served notice about this as well as the Opposition’s intention to bring a private bill to repeal the amendments to the Procurement Act.
“On Friday, MP David Lee filed a motion of no confidence in the Minister of Energy Franklin Khan and we’ll take them on Friday in the Parliament, all our speakers will be ready, set to go,” she said at the United National Congress (UNC) virtual meeting on Monday.
“I want to serve notice today that I intend to file in the Parliament a bill to repeal the amendments made in the Procurement Act,” she added.
Persad-Bissessar noted that the Government brought amendments which gutted the procurement bill.
She said this happened in a country where Cabinet ministers recused themselves because contracts were going to friends and family.
Persad-Bissessar noted that under the amended legislation certain transactions were removed from the oversight of the procurement regulator to allow the Cabinet to have control.
She said the country will not forget how the Government enabled exemptions in the new Procurement Law that allows government-to-government arrangements, legal and medical fees, among others, to be free from the purview of the Procurement Legislation.
Need for accountability
Persad-Bissessar noted that the House Speaker will have to determine whether the bill should be placed on the Order Paper.
“I will not pre-empt what the decision will be but it is my respectful view that it must appear on the Order Paper so we as parliamentarians can debate it,” she said.
She said proper procurement law must be in effect especially when it comes to selling Petrotrin’s assets.
“You should bring the procurement law into effect and then we could be sure that there is accountability and transparency and you’re not selling to your friends and family or you not selling to somebody who will give you a big kickback,” she said.
“I call again, do not sell out those assets until you have the procurement regime in place, you have had almost six years.. and you weakened the law to allow for certain people to thief from taxpayers,” she said.
She emphasised the need for proper procurement law, adding it was Government’s intention to privatise the Port.
Persad-Bissessar also raised concern about the state of the economy.
“We are in a free-fall, I don’t know where it is going to end,” she said, noting that Republic Bank has now reduced the forex limit to US$10,000.
She said the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund (HSF) has been drawn down by billions and it is sad the country cannot see where it has gone.
Questioning whether the money has gone into health care, roads or laptops for children, she said the country does not know and this a procurement law is needed to ensure transparency and accountability.
She also sent a message to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley:
“Prime Minister, no matter what you say you are not going to shut me up, you not shutting up any UNC.”