THE Penal/Debe Chamber of Commerce is disappointed in the actions taken by the State-sanctioned police-military operation to demolish the protest camp of the Highway Re-Route Movement in Debe.
The Chamber held a meeting on Wednesday, the day the camp, set up to protest the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the highway to Point Fortin, was destroyed.
Chamber vice-president Sahid Hosein said the Chamber was in support of the highway's construction but was concerned about three issues which were yet to be discussed with the government.
He said, "We were very concerned in the manner in which the demolition was carried out. It was an attack on the due process of the Constitution. It does not go well that both the Minister of National Security (Jack Warner) and the junior minister (Collin Partap) found it necessary to be there as though they were directly directing the execution."
Hosein said, "We are very unhappy with the way it was handled. There were other ways and legal avenues to resolve this issue and the direction that the Minister of National Security decided to take to solve that issue does not go well for the democracy at all."
Hosein said the Chamber, which has 300 members, wanted to know why the People's Partnership Government led by United National Congress (UNC) leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar was interested in the building of the highway when the project was criticised and condemned by the UNC when they were in Opposition.
He said there were two contradicting hydrological studies conducted, one by the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure and one that environmental activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh, leader of the Highway Re-Route Movement, was responsible for.
And he said residents in the area who will have to be relocated must not only receive adequate financial compensation.
He said many generations have lived in the area and most will suffer psychological trauma and counselling must also be provided for them.
Hosein also gave his personal opinion in the issue.
He said, "The people of the country are the government. All the lands that people are squatting on belong to the people of the country in a technical sense and we have hired this Government based on their assurance to represent our interest. Sometimes we seem to forget and suddenly there is a master and servant relationship."