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Saturday 15 August, 2020

Gopeesingh slams former EFCL Chairman's failure to appear before JSC

Former EFCL Chairman Arnold Piggott (left), Former Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh (right)

Former EFCL Chairman Arnold Piggott (left), Former Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh (right)

Former Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh is criticising former Chairman of the Education Facilities Company Ltd (EFCL), Arnold Piggott, for his refusal to appear before a Parliamentary Joint Select Committee (JSC) on Monday.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Gopeesingh said Piggott’s “crude” and “brazen” decision to refuse to appear before a parliamentary JSC is characteristic of the contemptuous and arrogant Rowley regime.

He said the move was appalling. 

“Mr Piggott not only ignored a constitutionally-constituted Committee but he also issued an arrogant and self-indulgent statement to support his appalling decision. His disgraceful move has taken place in the midst of revelations that the Board of Directors he headed had overstepped its boundaries and interfered in the day-to-day operations of EFCL and was involved in improprieties pertaining to procurement,” he said.

The Opposition MP noted that the Piggott-led Board was responsible for the approval of unqualified personnel for appointment and had abused the company’s resources for personal use.

Gopeesingh said the former EFCL Chairman's failure to appear before the JSC was as a result of the PNM regime.

"This is symptomatic of a regime that has steadfastly refused to hold anyone accountable in the multi-million-dollar racket in the procurement of inter-island vessels and has, instead, dismissed the whistleblower Chief Executive Officer."

"The PNM government is consistently turning a blind eye to blatant corruption, misspending and waste by its officials."

The Former Government Minister also criticised the Government for its handling of the "fake oil" scandal and the World Gas-to-Liquids debacle.

"There has also not been any move to initiate criminal proceedings in the “fake oil” scandal, which set back taxpayers $111 million. The Rowley regime has withdrawn litigation against then-Petrotrin officials who presided over the billion-dollar World Gas-to-Liquids (WGTL) debacle, the most reckless and costliest decision in the history of the State sector."

The Caroni East MP said such sleaze and squandermania has aggravated the national financial situation, leading to enormous suffering imposed on the working masses, such as non-payment to caterers of the School Feeding programme; school social workers and the late payment of salary to some public servants.

Piggott’s resignation last June took place after major allegations of irregularities. Attorney General Faris Al Rawi had previously summoned a meeting of the Board of Directors amidst the serious claims.

Meanwhile, Gopeesingh also criticised the Government whom he said embarked on frivolous court charges and threats of locking up opposition members in order to blindside the population to their corruption.

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