Information Minister Neil Parsanlal has described the Calder Hart/Udecott issue as an imbroglio.
Parsanlal said the Government was very concerned about the amount of anger prevailing among the population because of the issue. Hart, the former executive chairman of the state-owned special purpose company, Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott), resigned last Saturday. Documents produced by the Congress of the People (COP) claimed he had family ties with two directors of Sunway–a firm which was awarded a $368.9 million contract to construct the Ministry of Legal Affairs Towers in Port-of-Spain by Udecott. Responding to questions on the issue during yesterday's post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's, Parsanlal admitted: "There are lots of people out there who have viewed the whole imbroglio with Udecott and Calder Hart and have become very, very angry, have become very upset and concerned about the operations of the Government and we are very much aware of that."
Parsanlal said the Government and members of the PNM were very concerned about those developments. "Yes, we feel that there has been anger in the population," Parsanlal said. Noting that both a police and forensic investigation had been initiated into Calder Hart/Udecott, Parsanlal said citizens should not seek to prejudge the situation. He said the process should be allowed to run its full course and when completed, "whoever has to be vindicated will be vindicated, if anyone has to be charged, then that person will be charged." The news conference was at times heated, as journalists attempted to ask questions on the issue at the same time. In response to questions, Parsanlal said Cabinet did not discuss the holding of a probe into Hart. He said, however, that the general issue over Hart was discussed.
In response to questions about the delayed announcement of a Hart probe, both Parsanlal and Labour Minister Rennie Dumas said it was not the norm to announce such matters. "In no situation at the cabinet table would an Attorney General come and say that we are running an investigation on 'A', 'Y' or 'Z'," Dumas said. "Any other course of action leaves us bare to the charge of presumption." Asked if the Government had any gratitude for Diego Martin West MP Dr Keith Rowley for his role in raising concerns about Hart and Udecott, Parsanlal said like all MPs who took their oath of office, Rowley was simply carrying out that oath.