Secondary Roads company shut down; Works Minister says they became irrelevant

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Secondary Roads company shut down; Works Minister says they became irrelevant

The Secondary Roads Rehabilitation and Improvement Company Limited (SRRIC) has been shut down.

Reports state that the Government terminated the existing board, which included deputy chairman Wendell Seecharan, Lincoln Anthony, Neville Adams, Shazim Mohammed and Debra James—and appointed public servants from the Ministry of Finance, which include deputy permanent secretary Jennifer Lutchman as chairman.

According to a GML report, the two year old company, which fell under the arms of the Ministry of Works and Transport (MOWT) last year, will now be under the Ministry of Finance as the winding-up process begins.

The move comes after former chairman Herbert George resigned and two audits are currently being conducted into the company, amid tensions between the company’s CEO Antonio Ross and MOWT and a complaint lodged to the Office of the Procurement Regulator (OPR) on allegations of collusion, price-fixing and bid-rigging.

On Wednesday, Ross appeared before Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC), chaired by Speaker of the House Brigid Anisette-George, and likened SIRRIC to “an outside child” of the MOWT. 

However, UNC MP, Roodal Moonilal questioned the shutdown.

He said the dismissal came a day after the company’s CEO told a PAAC meeting that it was starved of resources.

Moonilal also raised the issue that the board was removed when they were supposed to return to the PAAC in two weeks to complete their interrogation. Moonilal said rather than bringing legislation, the Government should strengthen state institutions.

Works Minister, Rohan Sinanan, said that when SIRRIC was first conceived, it was to deal with secondary roads in the corporations. 

However, with the passage of the Procurement Legislation and Local Government Reform in the past two years, he said the mandate for secondary roads now fell under the regional corporations, rendering the company irrelevant.