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More problems at Gravel & Concrete

The Mt Rush headquarters of Gravel & Concrete which was set up to play a major role in the construction industry on the island

All is not well at the state-owned Gravel Concrete & Emulsion Production Corporation.

A worker who spoke to THE NEW TODAY on condition that he was not identified called on the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell to look into allegations of rampant corruption and the waste of the financial resources of the once financially-strapped enterprise.

He alluded to wastage of the resources of Gravel & Concrete and pointed specifically at the purchase of two vehicles in the United States to engage in Ready Mix work which have not been able to be put into effective use since their arrival on the island several months ago due to severe mechanical problems.

According to the worker, the corporation has been spending thousands of dollars in trying to effect repair on the vehicles but has been unsuccessful at the moment.

He said the vehicles arrived on the island in “real bad shape” with many of the workers considering the deal as “a bad buy” by the corporation.

“…The last two (trucks) that they get (are) real bad. You could see that they come out in a dump. Up to now they are not working good,” he remarked.

He said the vehicles are just problematic as Gravel & Concrete is yet “to make back a dollar” on this investment.

“When they came, they were rotten, bad, had holes – all kinds of things,” he added.

The employee told THE NEW TODAY that the mechanics in the garage “are fighting up with it – they have serious problems, serious issues”.

He also alluded to major problems with the engine for a loader with the supplier providing the corporation with a Chinese engine that had to be returned to the overseas seller.

He mentioned the continued employment of a worker who stole an engine, admitted to it, suspended for a short while and brought back to work.

The worker is said to be living in the St George North-west constituency of the Prime Minister and is a known supporter of the ruling New National Party (NNP) government.

He alluded to someone whom he referred to as “a political stooge” who recently joined the staff at Gravel & Concrete as nothing but “a dunce man drawing a big salary but cannot contribute anything to the company”.

The worker who expressed disappointment with the management of the state body spoke of many of the pro-government employees often boasting that the “horses grazing where they (are) tied.”

Gravel & Concrete is one of three state-owned bodies that the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged the Mitchell-led NNP regime government to privatise in order to cut back on continuous state subsidy to keep them in business.

About five years ago, the administration gave an undertaking to invest approximately EC $15 million into the state body to keep it running after a failed attempt to enter into a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with a Trinidad businessman.

The then Public Utilities Minister Gregory Bowen had stated that the planned PPP arrangement with Trinidad businessman, Lindsay Gillette was not successful as the NNP government feared that the deal would not have served the best interest of the country.

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