?Several weeks after a criminal probe was started into allegations of wrong-doing by former Executive Chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) Calder Hart, Prime Minister Patrick Manning remained high in praise for the then Udecott head.
AG John Jeremie said on Wednesday the criminal probe began on September 21 and almost two months later Manning commended Hart "for the tremendous work he continues to do to develop T&T." Manning said at the official opening of the US$78 million National Academy for the Performing Arts (North Campus) in Port-of- Spain last November that the Calder Hart-led special purposes company "is the instrument that the Government is using to bring about a new order in the construction sector."
He made those comments against several claims of mismanagement of state resources by Hart. The Uff Commission of Enquiry into the Construction Sector and Udecott was still taking place in Port-of-Spain. Manning added: "The Government refuses to be a part of the witch hunt." Jeremie said on Wednesday PM Manning and himself were aware of the criminal investigation which was launched in September last year.
Information Minister Neil Parsanlal, in responding to questions of Manning's public support for Hart in the wake on an on-going criminal investigation, said Hart had not as yet been charged with anything and the Government was awaiting the report of the Uff Commission of Enquiry into the Construction Sector.