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Activist 'got copy of technical report'

By Carolyn Kissoon carolyn.kissoon@trinidadexpress.com

ENVIRONMENTAL activist and hunger striker Dr Wayne Kublalsingh has been accused of lying to the public.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar presented a document at the United National Congress Monday-night forum meeting at Debe High School, Debe, indicating Kublalsingh received a copy of the technical report on the Debe-to-Mon Desir segment of the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin.

Kublalsingh, who spent a 13th day without food or water outside of the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday, has asked that construction on the highway segment be stopped, pending an independent technical report on the impact it will have on communities and the environment.

However, Persad-Bissessar said on Monday night, "The Highway Re-Route Movement asked to meet with me. We met in March. I said then I will stop that section of the highway to allow the Highway Re-Route Movement to meet with technocrats and the ministers responsible.

"The meeting took place, and coming out of this a report was prepared and this report was handed over to Dr Kublalsingh and the Highway Re-Route Movement members."

Persad-Bissessar said Kublalsingh admitted in an affidavit, filed in the courts, he received the document.

She said the report filed by the Ministry of Works and the National Infrastructure Development Company Ltd on the Debe-to-Mon Desir segment of the highway was public information.

"So when they are blogging and saying we should make the report public, it is a public document. Mr Kublalsingh admits in Paragraph 25 (of the affidavit) that he received the report."

Persad-Bissessar made it clear at the political meeting on Monday night that the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin will not stop.

She said the highway will bring endless benefits to residents of the southwestern peninsula, including access to infrastructure and development.

"The value of your property will rise, your asset base is larger and you can leverage more finance from banks to raise capital to invest in business. You find highest property values are in the Debe-to-Mon Desir leg of the highway," she said.

Persad-Bissessar said the highway to Point Fortin will stimulate investment and infrastructure, as businesses would be created along the route.

She said the Ministry of Energy will move to revitalise lands and increase crude oil production.

"The land-based oil production was totally neglected by the PNM (People's National Movement) for nine years because it required movement of heavy equipment in these areas.

"And so that movement will be facilitated by the new highway which connects these areas," he said.

Persad-Bissessar said she will be the most irresponsible leader to halt the highway project and deprive hundreds of thousands of citizens.

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