JCC Policy Initiatives: INVADERS BAY DEVELOPMENT

Invader's Bay Development: Accounting For Public Money

This webpage is our resource to those who want information on this important issue.

The land at Invader's Bay was reclaimed at public expense about 10 years ago and the Ministry of Planning & the Economy (MPE) published a Request for Proposals (RFP) at the end of August 2011 with a closing-date of Tuesday 4th October 2011.

The JCC wrote to MPE on 16th September 2011 to put our deep concerns onto the record, we were supported in this matter by our kindred associations -
  • Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry & Commerce
  • Trinidad & Tobago Manufacturers' Association
  • Trinidad & Tobago Transparency Institute

We led a delegation to meet with the Dr. Bhoendradatt Tewarie on Monday 26th September 2011 - Minister of Trade & Industry, Stephen Cadiz also attended that meeting - but the Ministers' decision was to continue with their course of action.


The JCC is calling for the immediate withdrawal of this flawed RFP and its substantial revision after proper consultation with stakeholders.

Some points to consider:
  • Scope of work/timescale - The proposals are to be submitted by 4th October 2011 and that is an unrealistically short timescale for such a huge development. In addition, its definition of scope is far too generalized, which leaves the evaluation and selection process open to potential abuse or the whims and fancies of personal preference.
  • Development Within a Proper Planned Context - The RFP makes the point that MPE is responsible for land-use planning, ensuring balanced development and the restoration of lagging areas. There are various strategic development plans for Port of Spain which have been prepared for the Government and those have been ignored in the RFP.
  • Transparency and the Creation of a Level Playing Field - The government must ensure that a transparent process is followed in the granting of any exclusive rights to private developers to develop these publicly-owned and extremely valuable property rights, conservatively estimated to be worth in excess of $1.0Bn. As far as we are aware there has been no stakeholder participation in this development process. None whatsoever. That is unacceptable by modern norms, not to mention several key sections of the Peoples' Partnership Manifesto.
  • Movietowne Complex - The RFP requires that the new development "...must be complimentary (sic) to this existing development...", which seems to be an inexplicable and impractical requirement, with absolutely no basis in proper planning practice. In any event, the detailed Master Plan for Invaders Bay accounts for all uses, including Movietowne.
  • Local content - In keeping with JCC's commitment to development of local industry, we are insisting that the RFP specify that all architectural and engineering services must be obtained in compliance with laws requiring that those professionals be properly-registered. In addition, there must be effective provisions to ensure full participation by local, labourers, contractors and suppliers.
  • EIA - The RFP is silent as to the requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment.
  • Scale of Development - The Spoils to go to one Developer.

Given the high development costs, we suggest that an alternative be adopted which would allow for the participation of several developers in the development of Invaders Bay. This approach has the benefit of being more equitable, with the likely side-effects being greater local participation and faster pace of development of these lands.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUESTS (All documents are pdf. Get adobe Reader.)

  1. Email correspondence with the Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs dated 27 October 2011: Click here to read
  2. Email correspondence with the Commissioner of State Lands dated 27 October 2011: Click here to read
  3. Request to Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs for Access to Official Documents under The Freedom of Information Act 1999 dated 2 Feb 2012: Click here to read
  4. Request to Commissioner of State Lands for Access to Official Documents under The Freedom of Information Act 1999 dated 2 Feb 2012: Click here to read
  5. Response on 12 Apr 2012 from Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs to FOI Request of 2 Feb 2012 for Access to Official Documents: Click here to read
  6. JCC responds to Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs' response above on 12 Apr 2012: Click here to read
  7. Request to Ministry of Planning & the Economy for Access to Official Documents under The Freedom of Information Act 1999 in respect to Legal advice obtained on Invader's Bay RFP process dated 20 Apr 2012: Click here to read
  8. JCC follows up on 20 Apr 2012 Request to Ministry of Planning & the Economy for Access to Official Documents under The Freedom of Information Act 1999 in respect to Legal advice obtained on Invader's Bay RFP process dated 27 Jun 2012: Click here to read
  9. MPE's response to JCC's chaser letter of 27 June 2012 Freedom of Information Application to the Ministry of Planning & the Economy for Access to Official Documents in respect to Legal Advice obtained on Invader's Bay RFP Process, dated 5 July 2012: Click here to read
  10. On Tuesday 1 October 2013, the JCC was successful in having the High Court grant leave to proceed with its challenge of the refusal by the Minister of Planning to publish crucial advice under the FOIA re Invaders Bay.
  11. The Court of Appeal hands down majority decision in favour of the JCC in Invaders' Bay matter against the Ministry of Planning.
    1. Click here to view the judgement by Justice Bereaux
    2. Click here to view the judgement by Justice Jamadar
    3. Click here to view the judgement by Justice Narine

REFERENCES AND SOURCE MATERIAL

PRESS NOTES

  1. John-Lall, Raphael (July 7, 2011). "MovieTowne's Derek Chin to open T&T to the world" . Business Guardian . Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  2. Darceuil, Victor (September 8, 2011). "Finding our economic stasis" (Feedback) . Business Guardian . Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  3. Clyne, Kalifa (September 27, 2011). "Lee Sing: WASA lands belong to city - Invader's Bay belongs to PoS—Mayor" Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. Retrieved 08 October 2011.
    "Neither the Foreshore, Invaders Bay nor the lands the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) are attempting to take ownership of in Cocorite can be developed without consultation and approval of the Port-of-Spain City Corporation...[Mayor Louis] Lee Sing also referred to an advertisement in a daily newspaper in which the public had been invited by the Ministry of Planning and the Economy to indicate interest in land at Invaders Bay. He said: 'Invaders Bay belongs to the city of Port-of-Spain and yet here is development being proposed without any discussion with the corporation, these lands cannot be developed without the assent of the city corporation.' In a brief telephone interview Minister of Planning Bhoe Tewarie said as far as he was aware Invaders Bay was not vested in the city of Port-of-Spain. He said he intended, however, to speak to the mayor about not only the Invaders Bay development but also the development of the city of Port-of-Spain and had indicated this to Lee Sing."
  4. Ramdass, Anna (September 28, 2011). "JCC: Govt has broken transparency promise" Trinidad Express Newspapers. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  5. Furlonge, Dr Rae (September 29, 2011). "What is the real plan for Invader's Bay?" Business Newsday. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  6. John-Lall, Raphael (September 29, 2011). "JCC objects to Govt plans for Invader's Bay" Business Guardian. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  7. Bagoo, Andre (October 3, 2011). "Cadiz: JCC jumped the gun" Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. Retrieved 03 October 2011.
  8. "It's not a done deal" . Trinidad Express Newspapers. October 3, 2011. Retrieved 08 October 2011.
  9. Bridglal, Carla (October 4, 2011). "All the 'ingredients for corruption'" . Trinidad Express Newspapers. Retrieved 08 October 2011.
  10. Cuffy, Maxie (October 7, 2011). "The MovieTowne plot" . TnT Mirror. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  11. Rowley, Keith (October 14, 2011). "BUDGET REPLY 2011-2012" . Trinidad Express Newspapers. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
    "...From my own standpoint there is no fundamental difficulty with converting a moribund waterfront with its grimy galvanised sheds being transformed into economic infrastructure and useable, saleable office space. The difficulty most people had was the demand for the necessary accountability within the state enterprise manifested through efficiency in construction after proper procurement practices which were geared to eliminating favouritism and corruption. Where such conditions appear to be lacking, I make no apologies for demanding it. But Mr Speaker where does that leave us as a people?

    "Have we learnt anything? When the Minister of Finance spoke, about the land for development at Invaders Bay, he went out of his way to mention that this is prime real estate, reclaimed and built at great expense to the tax payer, a project of the PNM unmentioned on this occasion. This project created a property worth billions of dollars for the State, executed against the objections of some persons. As of today, the development authority for that land resides in a Cabinet minute which gives UDECOTT the go ahead to proceed with the installation of roads and utility services. The intention was to make fully serviced plots of high value and variable sizes available to a wide entrepreneurial market. This property ranks among the most valuable piece of real estate in Trinidad and Tobago. Recently, without any announcement from the Government that a new Cabinet position had been arrived at, for the disposal and or the development of this land we saw in the media a developer indicating that he had procured $2 million dollars of development plans for this property which he hopes to procure. It was also stated that 19 ministers had reviewed the plan and they all liked the project which involved the development of the whole area by one investor. It was not long after this publication that the Ministry of Planning and Development put out a request for proposals (RFP) requiring proper detailed outlined plans and financing arrangements etc., from experienced developers, who were given 6 weeks to respond. Notwithstanding reasonable objections to this narrow window of opportunity provided to the wider public, the Government proceeded to ignore all such concerns. We await the final outcome of this one..."

  12. Bridglal, Carla (November 18, 2011). "Jearlean: Projects to go out to tender this month" Trinidad Express Newspapers. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  13. Baboolal, Yvonne (November 18, 2011). "JCC wades into Invader's Bay Project" Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  14. Pickford-Gordon, Lara (November 18, 2011). "JCC: old approach to Invader's Bay" Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  15. "Tewarie: Cabinet approved move from UDeCoTT" Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. November 18, 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011.


 

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