Thursday, April 1, 2010

Corruption Evidence. St James Youth Facility Part 1

What follows is a citizen's attempt to find out more about the construction and maintenance of a new "Community Center" in St James. Its called the "St James Youth Facility" And its a massive building comprising at least 4 stories on a heck of a lot of land behind the Cemetery and next to the Pan Yards on Bournes Road. Liam, as he states in this first part, is NOT a reporter, nor is he a professional investigator. He's just trying to get answers. I say kudos to Liam and the rest of the people like him who don't just sit idly by and accept things because "that's how it is." Its time we take a page from people like Liam and start asking qestions and demanding answers. I have also been informed that the brouhaha associated with the $2 million flag's genesis occurred around this young man. In the end it doesn't matter who started the ball rolling. Let's get it rolling hard enough to see that justice is done. Please read on and share:

I have begun a full scale investigation into the construction of the St. James Youth Facility. I am by no means an investigative journalist nor do I pretend to have the qualifications. I am simply a concerned citizen of Trinidad and Tobago that is begging for transparency, consultation, accountability, monitoring and evaluation. By doing this series I'm hoping someone with the right tools, resources and avenues can pick up my story.

Over the past few weeks we have heard numerous allegations towards UDECOTT, the Ministry and Minister of Culture, Community Development and Gender Affairs and by extension the Government as it relates to the National Academy of Performing Arts.

Unfortunately, after reading several of the reports released by the Artists Coalition of Trinidad and Tobago on the flaws of the construction of NAPA, I regret to inform you that I believe the St. James Youth Facility has a similar story, possibly worse.

The (St. James Youth Facility) SJYF was first mentioned by the former Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Mr. Roger Boynes in October 2004 costing us a whopping 34.4 MILLION. When driving pass the facility one can clearly see a billboard that states the contractors, managers and the start date of September 2006. As of today March, 2010 the St. James Youth Facility remains incomplete and closed to the public.

One can see that judging from the exterior the building looks near completed but still has galvanize, scaffolding and construction sand strewn throughout the premises.

Today, was an interesting day. I called the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs seeking answers as to why the building which started in 2006 is not yet completed. Which is six months short of four years. After being transferred back and forth and not actually being able to get any answers by anyone and this is after speaking with persons from the Youth Affairs, Public Relations and Accounting departments. Everyone including a representative in Youth Affairs was not even aware that there was a St James Youth Facility.

After futile attempts at getting any headway in the Ministry I called the Woodbrook Youth Facility hoping they may have information on the St. James Facility. I spoke with what seemed to be a very courteous young man who informed me that he was not aware of any St. James Youth Facility but stated that all Facilities fall under the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago. He was also helpful enough to give me a number for the company.

I called (SPORTT) requesting information on the facility I was transfered to the Health, Safety, Security and Environment department of the company as the operator informed me that they will best be able to assist.

After posing as a member of a youth group wanting information on the Facility. The Assistant Manager of the HSSE department stated that she was also not aware of any St James Youth Facility. I began to explain it's location and she then remembered and stated that that does not fall under the Sport Company that still falls under the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.

So as expected typical government office finger- pointing took place as the majority of persons in both government offices knew next to nothing about the Facility far less who was responsible for it.

Now I posted as my status on Facebook that I was beginning an investigation into the Facility hoping that anyone with information would share. One Facebook friend commented stating that there are Chinese workers living there. Now with all the allegations being bandied about Chinese workers in Trinidad and Tobago I merely shook it off as sarcasm and humour.

Tonight, a friend and I decided to take a drive up to the Facility just to see close up and first hand how behind schedule the facility may actually be. As we slowly drove passed we noticed a SUV parked up in the car park of the Facility and we also noticed just opposite two individuals sitting in what seemed to be a condemned pan yard.

I poked my head out of the car inquiring about the facility, they then eagerly without hesitation called us in to chat. Ironically these two community persons were discussing the Youth facility itself.

In my next note I would enlighten you as to the shocking revelations that proved our worst nightmares a reality. Lets just say that supposedly humorous sarcastic comments below my status are not to be taken lightly!
See Part two here

Posted on Monday, 22 March 2010 at 23:47 by Liam Carlos Rezende Via Facebook.

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