Tuesday, December 4, 2012

PM thanks JCC, outlines details of agreement on highway project

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar:

"I want to thank the JCC and the government team headed by Minister Emmanuel George, a team which included Dr. Carson Charles of NIDCO as well as Ministers Ganga Singh and Stacy Roopnarine for their successful meeting today (Monday). 

"I also want to thank the JCC for their input and concerns.
"On my advice the Government team met with the JCC and their team to discuss the Solomon Hochoy Highway Extension to Point Fortin. 
"The meeting concluded as follows: 
  1. NIDCO undertook to provide all documentation on the Debe to Mondesir section of the Highway
  2. JCC undertook to examine all the documentation and to provide a report within sixty days to NIDCO for consideration and, for the JCC to publish the report. We have nothing to hide
  3. Work on the highway to continue on lands released to the contractor
"Yet further following upon today’s meeting, I have been advised by Dr. Carson Charles that NIDCO re-affirms its commitment to use best practices in the design and construction of the highway.

"I want to thank my MPs and Ministers who stood together to take tough decisions...

"My Government is not afraid to make available the studies, the approval documents as well as provide information that any group wants with respect to the highway. 

"If there is a criticism to be made of the Government on this matter it will be that we have not given as much information as we should have given. 
"However as the media themselves witnessed yesterday and as they reported in today’s newspapers they were able to see volumes of studies relative to this project. 
"Some of them went on an aerial tour and saw the extensive works that are taking place. Nothing is being hidden... 

"Contrary to what is being spread as propaganda by some, I am advised as follows:
  • Fact 1: that the highway passes on a route that has minimal impact on the lagoon. Those who went on the aerial tour would be able to verify this
  • Fact 2: Alternative routes were evaluated by Trintoplan and rejected because the cost benefits and the environmental protection required were satisfied by the current proposed route
  • Fact 3: There is a robust process for reviewing the designs of the Contractors and their Consultants who will review the design/build process. Designs must be presented to NIDCO where it is subject to rigorous evaluation in line with the requirements of the EIA/CEC and AECOM, one of the world’s most renowned firms of Engineering Consultants. In other words designs are constantly being reviewed before implementation
  • Fact 4: Environmental Impact assessments were done and a Certificate of Environmental Clearance was received 
  • Fact 5: Designs were done to mitigate flooding in the areas 
  • Fact 6: The highway does not go through the archaeological sites. No historical archaeological sites will be destroyed by the highway
  • Fact 7: Public consultations took place to obtain a CEC
  • Fact 8: The current route connects the various towns and villages much more than the proposal by the HRM
  • Fact 9: The South West Peninsula is a growth pole and the highway will open up tremendous investment opportunities as well as transportation links between Point Fortin and the rest of Trinidad and Tobago. 
"It is with this in mind that we should speak about cost benefit analysis. 

"The question which should be asked and for the answer is obvious is, what is going to be the impact upon the lives of over 200,000 to 300,000 persons and an entire region known as the SW Peninsula and as we all know, where unemployment rates have always been amongst in the highest in the country. 

"I again empathise with the HRM and Dr.Kublasingh and ask him to reconsider his position in the light of the JCC and government meeting. I cannot let a few people determine what is good for 300 000 people."

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai