Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 13th 2014 Contents A5
Thursday, November 13, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
SCARBOROUGH---While the issue of the
President's housing simmers in Trinidad,
the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) has
been working closely with President Antho-
ny Carmona and his wife Reema on an
upcoming upgrade of the President's House
THA Secretary for Infrastructure and Public
Utilities, Gary Melville, revealed that yester-
day. THA Chief Secretary Orville London,
preparing for today's meeting with Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Cabinet
here in Tobago, confirmed the plan.
The President has been meeting THA staff
on plans for the upgrade of the house at Gov-
ernment House Road.
Melville said the planning and designs
already have been discussed with the Pres-
ident and his wife and upgrades were intended
for the kitchen, bedroom and working area,
security and other parts of the house, to
upgrade the structure to the level befitting
The start date is to be finalised pending
the sourcing of funding, as well as the cost
and a timeline for completion, Melville said.
All parties are said to be happy with the
way it has gone so far, the T&T Guardian
Meanwhile, London, Melville and the rest
of the Executive Council have been invited
by the PM to meet with the Cabinet at a
luncheon today after the Cabinet's weekly
meeting, which is being held at the Magdalena
Grand resort. Cabinet meets at 10 am.
After the lunch, London said individual
THA secretaries will meet with ministers on
their respective portfolios.
PP in election retreat
London will also meet with Persad-Bisses-
sar to continue the discussions on internal-
self government and other issues which they
started when London met with her three
Back then, London raised concerns about
alleged incursions that the Tobago Develop-
ment Ministry was making into the THA's
jurisdiction over projects.
He said yesterday he had compiled a com-
prehensive report with legal consultants to
give to the PM so it could be discussed today.
Communications Minister Vasant Bharath
also said the PM had requested a report from
Tobago Development Minister Delmon Baker.
London has said he hoped the meeting
advances the self-government agenda and
that it would be a mutually accepted process
that could resolve the longstanding issue as
he hoped Tobago would achieve internal self-
government in the not-too-distant future.
The Opposition People's National Move-
ment (PNM), which is committed to internal
self-government for Tobago, has made it a
prong of its general election campaign frame-
After today's round of meetings, the Cab-
inet will hold a retreat at the Magdalena
Grand Resort tomorrow to reassess positions
and discuss election preparations.
Bharath said: "It's being held to see where
we are, what's working and what's not, and
how we proceed for the next 12 months into
After the retreat, the PM will launch a
CCTV security project in Scarborough.
working on fixing
A social media firestorm erupted yes-
terday after a landslip mere metres away
from the recently-opened Golconda Inter-
change caused a portion of the shoulder
of the highway to collapse.
Facebook, Twitter and other social media
platforms were abuzz with rumours that a
portion of the interchange, which was for-
mally opened last month by Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, had collapsed.
However, National Infrastructure Devel-
opment Company (Nidco) chairman, Dr
Carson Charles, yesterday dismissed social
media rumours of the collapse, telling the
T&T Guardian the issue being blown out
"It was just a crack by a small landslip
on the eastern side of the highway," Charles
said. "It was caused by heavy rains under-
mining earthen drains at the bottom of the
Facebook users commenting on the T&T
Guardian's post about the collapse seized
the opportunity to show support for High-
way Re-route Movement leader Dr Wayne
Kublalsingh has been on a hunger strike
for the past 58 days, calling for mediation
on the Debe to Mon Desir leg of the exten-
sion of the Sir Solomon Highway to Point
The shoulder collapsed sometime during
the morning period, the T&T Guardian was
told. HRM members alerted the media to
The T&T Guardian visited the scene
shortly after noon and saw five employees
of Brazilian firm, Construtora OAS Ltd, at
the site. They refused to speak to the T&T
Guardian and walked away.
Workers also stopped an excavator which
was on site and operating.
The collapsed portion of the shoulder
was hidden under white tarpaulin which
was held down by cement. The area was
blocked off with concrete barriers and large
In a release yesterday, Nidco confirmed
there was a "minor landslip" along the Gol-
conda to Debe segment. The landslip, it
added, occurred approximately 400 metres
south of the Papourie Road underpass, on
the south-bound carriageway of the exten-
sion and occurred because of water seeping
into the bottom of the embankment due to
incomplete drains in the area.
Yesterday, Charles said that may have
happened due to the current drainage sys-
"Anywhere you have earthen drains this
can happen but this is not affecting the
highway in any way," he said.
Charles said OAS was supposed to pave
the drains but that was not done yet.
"The contractor was supposed to pave
the drains, after that (paving) is done there
will be no more problems. This has nothing
to do with the structure of the highway. It
is a drainage problem," he added.
He said the contractor was working fever-
ishly to rectify the problem.
"The contractor went in to make sure the
landslip is stopped," he said.
He said no retaining wall would be put
up because once the drain was paved the
issue would be resolved.
Rain undermining roadway---Charles
Landslip near new
Highway Re-route Movement
(HRM) member Vishal Boodhai, who
spoke to the media yesterday at the
site of the collapsed shoulder,
knocked the Government for failing
to carry out proper scientific studies
before beginning construction.
Boodhai said about 100 feet of the
shoulder had collapsed.
He said: "The HRM is very
disturbed about what transpired here
today, where almost 100 feet of the
shoulder of the Debe-Goloconda
highway caved in.
"They basically did some work to
mask the damages that happened
this morning and they put some
plastic and cemented it into place to
hide what happened."
Boodhai said yesterday's incident
was a perfect example of the need
for scientific studies before
beginning construction on such a
He added: "We were always
lobbying for scientific studies to be
undertaken before any construction
"Today we see a perfect example
of what happens when you don't do
the proper studies before embarking
on a project of this size.
"We see the most expensive
highway on planet earth. It's not even
finished and we are already seeing
signs of it falling apart."
HRM: POOR STUDIES DONE
This section of the newly-opened Golconda-Debe segment of the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin collapsed yesterday.
Nidco says the collapse was caused because water is seeping into the bottom of the embankment because drainage works were not
completed in the area. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
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