The Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno, is calling for transparency in the Coastal Road Upgrading Project. Yesterday, he wrote a letter to the Caribbean Development Bank (CBD) and the British High Commission, both of whom are assisting to fund the project, stating the PUP’s concerns. Of those concerns are the fact that the contract for the project was never tabled nor was it perused by a contractor general, as per the Finance and Reform Act. This morning, we asked Business Senator, Mark Lizarraga, his thoughts on this. While he hasn’t read the Opposition Leader’s letter, he agreed that there is a lack of transparency in the awarding of contracts.
Mark Lizarraga, Senator: “The law calls for the tabling of these contracts over a certain amount to parliament and we’ve never seen them so in that regard I totally agree. One has to question as well how it is that only one contractor seems to be favored or very few contractors seem to be favored for all of these major works that we’re seeing done, major infrastructural works that we see throughout the country and only the few preferred contractors get these jobs and in a process that is not too transparent if I may say. I have told the international community as well that if they are not careful, on many occasions I have said this, if they are not careful they can be contributing to the erosion of our democracy. If the processes employed are less than transparent and if we know that party political hacks, partisan individuals continue to get these major contracts then we have to question what these international communities role is in the erosion of our democratic process. If the process is less than transparent, if you don’t comply with the laws of the land, table these contracts so we can know what works we should be getting for our monies. We’re spending hundreds of millions all over the place and I as the senator can’t tell you what it is that we should be expecting for those monies.”