Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Imbert: Emmanuel spoke too soon

Former works and transport minister Colm Imbert yesterday said current Works Minister Emmanuel George may have spoken to soon on the Highway Re-Route Committee's report on the planned highway to Point Fortin.

At a post Cabinet briefing last Thursday, George spoke on the unsigned report.

"Totally inappropriate but not surprising considering the person involved," Imbert said. He was responding to questions from the media after an impromptu media conference by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley at the Parliament building, Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, yesterday.

Though Imbert admitted he has not yet seen the report and as such it would be "inappropriate to comment", he said he read that hunger striker Dr Wayne Kublalsingh was already complaining that the report is not the complete picture and appears to be a misrepresentation of the true facts.

"You have one person saying that that is not so and another person saying it is so. Who knows what the facts are? None of us would know until we get the report and read it," he said.

He agreed the Government may have been moving to get the project off the ground and may have misrepresented the details of the report.

"I have spoken on this before. We always knew there were issues with land acquisition and environmental issues with that particular highway, so we were not going ahead with that highway first," he said.

Imbert said they had broken down the multi-billion-dollar project into a series of highways and were prepared to start works from San Fernando to Mayaro first.

George had seen the unsigned preliminary report and declared that it "brings good news to the population in that it indicates that the highway should be built".

Kublalsingh however immediately rebutted those comments saying that George was citing a single line in the report's executive summary and not the actual detailed findings of the group.

—See Page 5