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Warner: I need Partap's permission before I can visit area

By Akile Simon

DESPITE calls by protesting residents of several villages in East Trinidad for Works and Infrastructure Minister Jack Warner to come to their aid, Warner said before venturing into the area, he must get permission from its Member of Parliament, Collin Partap.

Partap, a Minister in the Ministry of National Security, has reportedly refused to meet with protesting residents saying that he will not hold discussions with persons engaging in such behaviour.

His statement has angered residents of St Michael's and Housen Villages, Cumuto Road, Balata Hill Road, Coryal and Four Roads, Tamana, who on Tuesday blocked the roads with debris which they set ablaze.

The residents accused Partap of making offensive statements and refusing to assist them in having the deplorable roads and drains in their villages repaired.

Asked if he intends to visit protesting Tamana residents who are demanding that the roads in their community be repaired, Warner said after he meets with Partap today, he will decide his next course of action.

Warner said, "I heard they were calling for me and the Prime Minister as well… It will be, of course, wrong for any parliamentarian, for any Minister to go to an MP's constituency without his presence, permission or approval.

"I don't want to go there without the MP's (Partap) permission or presence and therefore tomorrow, the MP and I shall speak and based on his advice, I will do what I will be doing."

Felix Diaz, a member of the St Michael's Village Council, told the Express on Tuesday that residents were fed-up with their road conditions and decided to protest with the hope of having their plight addressed.

"We voted him (Partap) in and he came from house-to-house asking for our support and we gave him our support and this is what we get in the end from him. The roads are bad and we are saying that we want them fix right away or we would continue our protest action where every man, woman and child has come out to support this cause.

Diaz added that by later today, if no repair work has started in his community, members will intensify their protest and take it outside Partap's office at the Ministry of National Security in Port of Spain.

ASP Samuel Bullen of the Northern Division led a contingent of police officers on Monday and Tuesday in the area to quell the disturbance and clear the roadway of debris.

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