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Carson Charles stands by report

By Anna Ramdass anna.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

The technical report on the Debe to Mon Desir section of the Point Fortin highway addressed concerns that were raised by the Highway Re-Route Movement and shows that lagoons and wetlands will not be affected, according to Dr Carson Charles, president of the National Infrastructure Development of Trinidad and Tobago (NIDCO).

NIDCO compiled a preliminary report on the Debe to Mon Desir section of the highway dated June 2012.

Charles told the Express yesterday that this report "dealt with issues raised by Dr Kublalsingh and the Highway Re-Route Movement".

"I don't think anybody can humanly address the concerns that are being raised by Dr Kublalsingh because we dealt with all the technical issues, but he is now saying the land is sacred," said Charles.

Charles said a team of experts from NIDCO and the ministry, comprising engineers, also answered all of the Movement's queries at meetings and also in the report.

"There is nothing we can do to Dr Kublalsingh's satisfaction. His position is a philosophical one—he is totally against the building of the highway," said Charles.

Charles said every technical point raised by the Movement was addressed and therefore Kublalsingh resorted to taking an emotional approach,

"He even asked me whether my mother and father contributed to anything here (South land). We can only address the technical issues, what can we do when he said the lands are sacred and ancestral," said Charles.

He said experts assured the Movement wetlands will not be affected and hydrology issues were dealt with.

He noted the highway is passing between the Oropouche lagoon and the town, thereby causing limited environmental effects.

Charles said he indicated to Kublalsingh the Debe to Mon Desir section of the highway will cost some $2.1 billion but "out of a hat" Kublalsingh jumped to the calculation that the highway will cost $5 billion.

Charles said the full report took into consideration the concerns raised by the group and the full report was completed one week later.

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