Corthwright Marshall off UPP’s slate for next election

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

OBSERVER: The United Progressive Party’s candidate for St Mary’s South has been axed from the party’s slate of candidates for the next general election due to a medical condition.

In a letter dated July 22 and leaked to Observer, the party’s leader Harold Lovell told Marshall that branch and community members, as well as some of Marshall’s own family, were concerned about “the effects of a rigorous political campaign on your physical health”.

And noting “the time and physical efforts that will be called for, as the party tries to cover the most ground in the shortest time,” the leadership of the party had concluded that “it simply cannot subject you to the physical hardship ahead, nor those who love and care for you to any further anxiety”.

This is despite Marshall apparently insisting he was strong enough to run.

The party will therefore be putting forward another candidate to go up against the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party’s candidate for that area, Samantha Marshall, and the Democratic National Alliance’s Andrew Antonio, in what many believe will be an early election. Elections are constitutionally due by mid-March next year.

Lovell, however, assured Marshall that he “will always have a prominent place in the United Progressive Party and any administration” that he may lead.

“We look forward to you being able to continue using your many gifts and abilities for the benefit of the party, your community and, indeed, our beloved country,” he added.

The missive did not disclose the specific condition afflicting Marshall, but it alluded to the fact he had been hospitalised at least three times and may be seeking treatment in New York or Barbados.

Lovell confirmed the authenticity of the letter with Observer and indicated that the party’s central executive was set to meet and would release a statement in the next day or two.

Marshall unsuccessfully contested the St Mary’s South seat for the UPP when he ran against Samantha Marshall in the 2018 general election.

When contacted by Observer, Marshall said the matter was private and one he would not be making a public statement on.


THA to pay only ‘true value of work’ to contractors

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


Chief Secretary Farley Augustine at a recent press conference. Photo by David Reid

CONTRACTORS owed by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will only be paid “the true value of their work” and not the terms of their contracts. Contractors are owed over $390 million by the THA.

Speaking on Tobago Channel Five’s Rise and Shine programme on Wednesday, Chief Secretary Farley Augustine said the contractors will soon start receiving payment. But he warned: “I am only paying contractors the value of their work. So in instances where we saw inflated invoices, where we saw invoices for works that are incomplete, you are only going to be paid the value of the work that was done – the true value of the work that was done.”

He has blamed the previous administration’s pre-election spending for the exorbitant debts of the THA.

Questioned how they will determine the “true value” to be paid to each contractor, he said the ongoing THA audit will assist.

“So quantity surveyors would look at the work done, look at the material used, they would also look at the quality of the materials used and cost it – that would determine the true value of the works done, and that process has already started. It is already ongoing.

“Payments would actually come before the fiscal year, sooner rather than later. In fact, I have been pushing the division to make first payments in this month of August.”

He said he is going to ensure that where corruption is suspected, that the fraud squad is involved.

“It would show that those who are now in the Minority aided and abetted and participated in some very slack behaviour and they must answer to the Tobago public for why that was so. It is frightening that some of what was discovered has become standard practice within the THA and that must be something that we have to address, and we have to treat with forcefully.”

At a July 22 news conference Augustine had announced that contractors would begin to individually meet with an independent team to discuss the way forward to receive their money.

In an interview with Newsday on Wednesday, a contractor, who wished to stay anonymous, said this has yet to materialise.

Responding to Augustine’s latest statement he said, “We have no problem with the valuation, but the evaluators have not spoken to any contractor. We’ve never had a meeting.”

He said a date needs to be confirmed when these payments would begin.

“Time is running out. Everybody has been given by the banks up to month’s end to regularise their accounts or to head to foreclosure – everybody.”

Asked about only being paid the “true value of the work,” another contractor said some contractors are willing to provide a percentage of their contract back to the assembly, but there would need to be some negotiation and discussions.

“You can’t tell me I have $100 million (contract) and I would only get $8 million; you have to have some kind of negotiation with people. They (the evaluators) know what was under the ground before concrete? They know the extent of the work? They don’t have the pictures, they don’t have the videos; so the evaluators did not, as far as we know, spoken (sic) to anybody, and this was up to this morning.”

TRINIDAD-FINANCE-Central Bank authorizes local company to issue electronic money

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Cana News Business

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