Sunday, February 18, 2018

Residents: Reroute 'Point' highway


BABE IN ARMS: Krystal Boodhai and her son Vishi during the rally hosted by residents of San Francique at Gandhi Village Recreation Ground in Debe yesterday. —Photo: DEXTER PHILIP

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Persistent rain yesterday failed to stop a rally by Debe residents, who want the State to reroute part of the proposed billion-dollar Point Fortin Highway project.

Dozens turned out first for a motorcade, then a community convention at the Gandhi Village Recreation Ground, where speakers included environmentalists Dr Wayne Kublalsingh, archaeologist Peter Harris, Kishore Boodram, president of the Claxton Bay Fishermen Association, and head of the Lopinot Environmental Action Foundation Marcia Guerrero.

Over 200 families have been identified as being in the line of construction for the highway and will have to be relocated if the project goes ahead as is.

Kublalsingh said residents are prepared to take their fight to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar whether at the Prime Minister's residence in St Ann's, Port of Spain, or outside Parliament, at the Waterfront Centre, and vowed that they will not allow the highway to "rip their community apart".

Kublalsingh and the residents have proposed that the portion of the highway intended to pass through parts of Gandhi Village and San Francique can be rerouted from Debe to Mon Desir.

Harris became emotional as he spoke of the highway passing within 200 metres of the Banwari site, where the complete remains of a ritually buried native Amerindian were once found.

Boodram said the fishermen were willing to stand behind the residents and he believes the people have power to direct the State and it should not be the other way around.