It's confirmed. Professor John Uff, QC, will speak to the media this morning after presenting his controversial report on the construction sector to President George Maxwell Richards at President's House. His report comes two days after Prime Minister Patrick Manning put the country in general election mode, and in the midst of a police probe into Udecott, and its former executive chairman, Calder Hart, who is out of the country. Uff, chairman of the Commission of Enquiry into the Construction Sector, the Urban Development Corporation (Udecott), and the Cleaver Heights housing project, will address the media at Winsure Building, Port-of-Spain, at 11.30 am. Uff flew into Trinidad last evening from London after completing the report, which has had two extensions. Uff presents the report to Richards with�only media photographers allowed at President's House–no reporters.
He will speak to reporters afterwards, although he made it quite clear that he cannot speak on his recommendations and the contents of the report. But the British QC said he wanted to say "a few things" at the news conference. He breaks with tradition as no other chairman of a commission of enquiry has ever sat down after the presentation of the report to speak with the media. The commission had to seek another extension for delivery of the report. The report was due on February 28, but was held up because of a judicial review case filed by Udecott against the commission for apparent bias. This was dismissed on March 5 by Justice Mira Dean-Armorer, and there has been no appeal by Udecott.
This was the third extension being sought by the commission from the President. On September 9, 2008, Richards appointed four people as commissioners to inquire into certain matters in relation to the construction sector. The commission began sitting and heard opening statements on January 12, 2009, and had, up to September, held three sets of hearings during the course of which a substantial amount of information was received by the commissioners by way of written statements, oral testimony under oath, and round-table discussions, on some eight items of the terms of reference. Days before the start of the final set of hearings on September 7, it was discovered that the commission had not been gazetted as is required by Section 15 of the Commission of Enquiry Act on September 9, 2008, when the commission was established.�
As a result, Attorney General John Jeremie went to Parliament and got both Houses to pass the Validation Act, and which was assented to on November 3. This gave the commission a retroactive effect, meaning that all the evidence taken before the error was discovered was still valid. The Government appointed former Appeal Court judge, Anthony Lucky, to investigate why the report was not gazetted. He submitted his final report to the AG, but nothing has been heard about it again. The fourth and final phase ended on December 8, 2009, with Uff�promising to produce his report by the end of February 2010. There was also an undertaking from the commission that the report would not be handed over to the President until judgment was given in the judicial review case. Along the way, two commissioners–Israel Khan, SC, and Kenneth Sirju–resigned, leaving just Uff and Desmond Thornhill to complete the report.