Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 6th 2014 Contents A12
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, September 6, 2014
Trinidad Lake Asphalt is importing
two shipments of bitumen to deal with
the current shortage, Energy Minister
Kevin Ramnarine said yesterday.
He made the comment at Thursday s
post-Cabinet media briefing at the San
Fernando Teaching Hospital, as he gave
his ministry s contingency plan for the
"Lake Asphalt will receive two ship-
ments of bitumen from Barbados on
Wednesday 10 and Monday 15 Sep-
tember," Ramnarine said.
He attributed the shortage to a mal-
functioning of the bitumen plant at
Petrotrin owing to the "exhaustion of
"I understand the vacuum distillation
unit at the plant had to be taken out,"
he said. "I was advised the plants would
be coming back up shortly, but I don t
want to give an exact date, as these
things tend to change from time to
He said the private sector is also
looking at importing bitumen from
other sources in the region.
Asked about the cost of importing
bitumen, Ramnarine said, "I do not
have the cost, but when you re in a sit-
uation like that and you need to get
bitumen right away, you know," he said.
Bitumen is a viscous, black, sticky
tar-like substance and is used for road
surfacing and roofing.
Several road-paving jobs have been
affected by the shortage.
But even as Ramnarine was giving
his contingency plan, La Brea MP
Fitzgerald Jeffrey is calling on Works
Minister Suruj Rambachan to answer
for the bitumen shortage.
Speaking to the Guardian by phone
yesterday, Jeffrey said there was no rea-
son for such a shortage.
"T&T is home to one of the biggest
bitumen producers, Trinidad Lake
Asphalt," said Jeffrey. "How could there
be a shortage, then?"
Residents in Jeffrey s constituency
protested over the poor conditions of
the roads in the area on Wednesday.
This prompted Rambachan to send in
the contractors to start repairs.
Hours after La Brea residents staged
a fiery protest against deplorable road
conditions repair works began on
Thursday, as promised by Works Min-
ister Suruj Rambachan.
On Wednesday, residents, along with
Brighton-Vessigny councillor Gerald
Debisette, had blocked the main roads
from Point Dor Junction to the Pitch
Lake, along with seven access roads,
for three hours to highlight their plight.
Local Government Minister Marlene
Coudray, who was also stuck in the
traffic along with hundreds of other
commuters, intervened and contacted
Rambachan, but was told measures
were already put in place for repairs to
Speaking to the T&T Guardian via
phone on Thursday, Debisette praised
the minister for his quick action.
"Repair works started last night
(Wednesday night), immediately after
the protest," Debisette said.
"I want to extend thanks to local
government minister and the minister
of works for the quick action and also
as the works are being done in the
night, so motorists are not being incon-
But Debisette warned against the
consequences of letting residents
become so frustrated that they resort
to protests to get their grievances aired.
"When you get to the point where
you have to hire contractors and get
work done immediately, the cost is
going to be significantly higher," he
"Resolutions like this are costing tax-
payers millions more."
Debisette said the works to be done
should include paving of roadways,
construction of a footpath and drainage
works. He said the communities in La
Brea have adopted a "wait and see"
attitude towards the works before mak-
ing further decisions.
Quick relief for
La Brea residents
to meet demand
TALE OF THE MISSING DASHEEN
Members of the Enterprise Performing Arts Organisation, in a scene from their skit Papa Bois -- Vision
the Tale Of The Missing Dasheen, during the dramatised literature category of the Prime Minister's
Best Village Trophy Competition Folk Festival Final at Queen's Hall, St Ann's, on Wednesday.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
However, La Brea MP Fitzgerald
Jeffrey said the works resulting from
Wednesday's protests were a mere
fraction of what needed to be done
in the constituency.
"There is much more work to be
done in La Brea, these repairs are
just the tip of the iceberg," he said.
"Vance River, Gonzales, Los Iros
and Santa Flora are in deplorable
condition and need immediate
Jeffrey also questioned the
speedy start of the works, as he said
Rambachan told him before there
was no money to complete the
"The minister told me he had no
money to do the work months ago,
but after the protests he suddenly
began speaking of hiring
contractors? Where did the money
come from all of a sudden?" he
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