The recent suggestion of Dr Keith Rowley that the highway to Point Fortin will stop at Penal is another of his hallucinations, but not without loaded intent. By suggesting as he does that the highway will stop in Penal, he continues to try to perpetuate the idea of a Government that is biased towards its own support base when, in reality, the visible evidence contradicts him.
This statement of his is a continuation of the subtle attempt to introduce race in the politics as was done in Tobago with the “Calcutta ship” and, most recently, with the “too black to lead” musings of Fitzgerald Hinds, for which Hinds has not been sanctioned by the PNM (People’s National Movement). This leads to the obvious conclusion that these statements are sanctioned by Balisier House.
I am afraid Dr Rowley is slowly but surely disqualifying himself by a failure to denounce such covert attempts to create divisions in the society. That a person aspiring for leadership has to depend on this kind of campaign speaks volumes about not just the means which one may use to attain power but also how power may be used when it is achieved.
What is the evidence that the Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration is not engaged in any kind of discrimination? Let me enumerate:
1. The Diego Martin Highway expansion
2. The Valencia by-pass road to Sangre Grande
3. The widening of the Trincity bridge near Trincity Mall
4. The building of the Oropune Village overpass
5. The development of the
Chaguaramas facilities as has never before been done by the PNM
6. The completion of the Uriah Butler Interchange
7. The soon-to-be-awarded and
to-start Curepe Interchange
8. The repairs to the St Joseph River bridge now in progress
9. Lighting up of several recreation grounds in the East-West Corridor
10. The completion of several new pavilions by both the Sports Company and Local Government
11. Announcement by the Government that the Port of Spain General Hospital will be redeveloped, in conjunction with the UK
12. The current construction of the Oncology Centre at Mt Hope
13. Expansion of the roadway into three lanes between the Lighthouse on the Beetham and the Port of Spain Market.
14. Lest it be forgotten, the response of the Government to the two blackouts which occurred in Port of Spain over the last few months and the quick manner in which the Beetham landfill fire was attended to which has gained the admiration of the national population.
15. The replacement of the transmission mains along the East-West Corridor as seen by nightly work on the bus route by WASA (Water and Sewerage Authority).
16. The construction of the Duncan Street Police Outpost
17. The construction of the Arima Police Station
These are but a few examples of attention to the East-West Corridor and I have not included community centres and schools. The Government has also established the Nursing School in El Dorado, which is also on the East-West Corridor. To berate the Honourable PM for building a campus in Debe and, further, to suggest it is only for law studies is to grossly mislead the mind of the nation.
On the matter of the highway to Point Fortin, work is proceeding both from Debe to Penal and, also, from Dumfries Road In La Romaine to Mon Desir. As well, work has started from the Dunlop roundabout in Point Fortin to the No 8 Road near La Brea. Work on the new section of the highway along the Mosquito Creek is visible to all, including the piling for the new Godineau Bridge and the bridge near Paria Suites. The clearing and grubbing of lands between Delhi Road and Grant Trace is ongoing.
To suggest the highway is going to stop at Penal is very misleading and utterly mischievous. I will go so far as to say it is intended to paint this Government as a south-of-the-Caroni Government. Given the traditional geographic settlement of our people and the traditional support bases of the parties, the intention of such statements is easily discernible. At the final count, it will become obvious that the dollars spent in infrastructural development north of the Caroni exceeds that spent south of the Caroni.
So what if the people of south Trinidad, especially the south-west peninsula, are given access to a UWI (University of the West Indies) campus in Debe or a state-of-the-art Teaching Hospital in San Fernando, or a hospital in Penal with specialisation in non-communicable diseases? Good governance is also about equitable distribution of resources and a respect for rural communities. Under the PNM, rural development was neglected at the expense of urban development. This needed to be corrected, whether in Toco, Penal, Point Fortin, La Brea or Matelot.
The evidence disputes Rowley’s veiled suggestion of discrimination in the developmental thrust of the Persad-Bissessar
Minister of Works and Infrastructure,
Deputy political leader
United National Congress (UNC)