FINANCIALLY PRUDENT: Clyde Paul
Start highway from ‘Point’
Susan Mohammed email@example.com
START the highway extension from Point Fortin.
This was the call again yesterday from Point Fortin Mayor Clyde Paul, who suggested that construction of the highway extension from San Fernando begin in Point Fortin.
In a press conference held at the Point Fortin Town Hall at Mahaica, Point Fortin, Paul criticised the Government’s continuation of construction work at Mon Desir which has been plagued by controversy, and the State’s lack of work on the Point Fortin leg.
“From where we stand, it appears that the highway might never reach Point Fortin. The highway is meant to serve Point Fortin and the surrounding communities. As it is, if it goes through Erin to Mon Desir it does not serve that purpose,” Paul said.
Paul said, since January 2011, he had indicated to the Government that construction should begin in Point Fortin.
“I told them it would be more financially prudent to begin here.”
Paul said he had explained to the Government that there would be fewer houses to be demolished, most of the land was owned by State-owned oil firm Petrotrin, and the highway would not pass through swamp lands.
“There would have been only one or two or three houses to acquire, and those houses would not have been over $100,000,” he said. “There is no swamp lands here.”
Paul called on the Government to heed the report done by head of the Highway Review Committee Dr James Armstrong, which made recommendations to the State regarding proper social and environmental impact assessments and cost-benefit analyses when attempting projects of this magnitude.
The HRC, comprising a number of independent groups, including the Joint Consultative Council (JCC), was commissioned last December by the State to make recommendations on the highway mega-project — the Debe to Mon Desir segment of which has been the subject of protest by the Highway Re-Route Movement.
The movement has asked the State to re-route that section, which could see the relocation of more than 200 families and, according to HRM head Dr Wayne Kublalsingh, be the cause of mass damage to environmentally sensitive areas around it.
Paul said he believed that the reason construction had not begun in Point Fortin was because the technical designs for the highway were not yet completed.
“I know for sure that since a year-and-a-half ago, three wells between Point Fortin and La Brea were capped. There is something the Government is not saying. Why it insists on coming through Mon Desir via Penal? There is no need for the highway to go through Penal, Mon Desir and Fyzabad. We will save money and time.”
Paul said there were several contractors who have bought equipment in anticipation of being hired on the project.