Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 2nd 2014 Contents interview
www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2014
with Clevon Raphael
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Q: Dr Charles, of all the public
offices you have held, is this
one giving you the biggest
A:(Laughing at Nidco s Port-of-
Spain head office last week) I
cannot say so, everyone provided
a different challenge, right?
Is this the most challenging?
No. No. Not at all. I would say maybe
there is a difference in that I am no
longer 31, when I could have worked
day and night without getting tired
(laughing once more). My energy is
probably about half of what I think I
had at that time.
When this multi-billion-dollar proj-
ect was thrust upon Nidco, did you
think it would have been this prob-
Well, I always expect challenges, but
not these kinds of challenges. I expected
challenges that had more to do with
project management, managing the
ambitious programme which the Gov-
ernment wanted to implement, and the
age-old issue of how to execute major
projects in the public sector within time
Given the rate at which the project
is progressing, is it still on course,
within budget, and the same comple-
No. No. We would not make the
same completion date we started off
with. We had so many obstacles, so
many hindrances, Kublalsingh being
one of them (a cynical smile).
Dr Charles, before going further,
we are not dealing with Kublalsingh
today. I am kind of tired of this whole
farcial business, right? But I might
ask you one or two questions on the
HRM later, ok?
Yeah I don t mind. I would like to
know what is his special diet (laughs),
but I really don t mind later on. The
acquisition process was the most chal-
lenging because it was a first, trying
to acquire so many properties. We have
acquired approximately 360 properties,
most of which were acquired by private
Last week, a resident claimed Gov-
ernment had not yet paid him com-
pensation for relocating him?
(Sipping bottled water) We have
not had people who come to an agree-
ment and who can make that alle-
gation, because once we have agreed
on a price, which is processed and
approved, the issue is resolved.
But you cannot say you want ten
million dollars for a two-bedroom
house and we give it to you. The
problem is where there is no
agreement and they are insisting
on outrageous value for their
property. Until that is agreed,
they would not be getting any
Clevon, there is lots of money
to be had, so some people think
that they could call for anything
and they ought to get it...
That Nidco is a bottomless bar-
Yes, that s what you expect to
get with a project of this size (seven
billion dollars). But we cannot do
that, otherwise how are we going
to stay within the budget?
T&T is a land of mauvais
langue, character assassination,
and the talk making the rounds
is that the only reason why the
highway is being constructed on
this route is because some
unnamed people are expected to
Well, I am sure the residents of
Siparia and Fyzabad, who would
like to get out of traffic jams and
who would like to see the area
develop, they have a personal ben-
efit, that is the personal benefit.
But what is corruption?
The easiest thing to do is to
throw accusations up in the air
(gesticulating raised hand), right?
You know you throw mud.
• Continues on Page A11
'Mediation? I am not
sure what a mediation is'
Executive Chairman of the
National Infrastructure Develop-
ment Company (Nidco) DR CAR-
SON CHARLES has described
environmental activist Dr Wayne
Kublalsingh as a street fighter.
The Nidco top honcho also
said Kublalsingh was in the
One thing Charles was certain
about, however, is that the San
Fernando to Point Fortin high-
way is going full speed ahead.
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