Monday, April 26, 2010

Election Primer A - Z: 'E' is for Estate Management Business Development Corporation of T&T (EMBD)

I should perhaps start at the end of the last (known) Chapter and remind everyone that in the midst of allegations of mismanagement, financial inpropriety and sexual harrasment, the former CEO of the EMBD, Uthara Rao reisgned effective December 31, 2008.

As reported by the Trinidad Guardian on January 18, 2009 - the Chairman of the EMBD, Noel Garcia was reported as stating that Mr Rao's decision had come just weeks after the Board had sent him on leave 'pending investigation'. To date, nothing further has been communicated on the matter and Mr Rao remains 'free'.

Who exactly is Mr Rao?

Uthara Rao, a national of India, had controversial skirmishes while at EMBD. He faced allegations of sexual harassment of certain employees; the matters were settled out of court through the payment of some $200,000.

He also damned some nationals, especially Indo-Trinidadians, saying they could not speak proper English.

He also was involved in a public spat with his then line minister Christine Sahadeo.

Rao had faced criticisms from then Joint Select Committee members Mary King and Wade Mark.

With billions of dollars spent (apparently without oversight and accountability) between 2002 and 2009 on infrastructural development in the former Caroni Lands, it would appear that Mr Rao has been something of a 'khaki' Calder Hart (Khaki Hart?), who was allowed to do everything and anything as long as it resulted in the achievement of the ruling party's developmental goals. Similarly, he enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the PM.

And in spite of it being common knowledge that much of the reported works were exaggerated and with allegations of favouritism, inadequate roads, poor water and sewerage connections, sexual harrasment and even the existence of a $2M+ bank account / slush fund, Mr Rao has escaped all recourse.

Makes one wonder just how many similar cases exist under the present Government.

Its time to end the nonsense - on May 24, Stain yuh finger and take back yuh nation!

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