Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 21st 2015 Contents A15
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Works and Infrastructure Min-
ister Dr Suruj Rambachan warned
residents of Coora Road, Siparia,
that if they continued their fiery
protest, the road would not be
Following Monday s protest in
which residents blocked several
areas along the road with burning
debris, Rambachan met with a few
of them at the Siparia Regional
Corporation, where he promised
to have repaving works begin in
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar is the MP for the con-
stituency of Siparia.
Despite this assurance, residents
said they were enraged over the
numerous and unfulfilled promises
by politicians to have the road fixed
and they were being asked to
return to their community with
yet another promise.
Rambachan responded, "First
of all, we have to operate on a basis
of trust. If I don t keep my word,
you can go back and protest, but
if you continue to protest I am not
coming to fix anything."
Rambachan said that a contrac-
tor in Belmont had to pay $30,000
to thugs who hijacked equipment
that was being used for road
repairs, while another contractor
in east Trinidad had to pay
$64,000 for the release of two
employees that were kidnapped
on the job.
He said WASA had the same
problem when it came to repairing
"It is up to you all to do things
peacefully, I put my hands up,"
He said work could not be done
immediately as funds for projects
were approved quarterly. Since
prudence was needed, he said, it
was not feasible to spend too much
money to repair the road now and
then repave it in April.
"It takes $2 million to rehabilitate
one kilometre of road and if I take
$500,000 to patch the road now
it will mean I am spending $2.5
million for just one part of the
road," Rambachan said.
In the end, the residents agreed
to keep the peace, with Darryl
Ramsamooj telling Rambachan,
"We will go back and inform the
community of what is talking place
and we will try to keep the com-
munity peaceful. We will hold back
on the protest for the time."
Works and Infrastructure Minister
Dr Suruj Rambachan says there should
be no cutbacks in its $214 million Pro-
gramme for Upgrading Road Efficien-
cy (Pure), despite having to reduce
spending by 15 per cent.
However, he gave no assurances that
all 100 projects carded for this year
would be completed, saying that some
might be deferred until next year.
In an interview yesterday at the
Siparia Regional Corporation, after
meeting with residents of Coora Road,
Siparia, who protested over poor road
conditions, he said his ministry was
looking at ways to cut back expenditure
without reducing its budget for infra-
structural maintenance and new proj-
He said a large portion of the main-
tenance budget was being used to repair
landslips, which he said had been hap-
pening frequently and unexpectedly.
"We are looking at the areas where
we can adjust that spending without
compromising the quality of our service.
There are many things we can do. If
overseas travelling has to be adjusted
and not approved, we will not approve
travelling. There might be training
courses and other expenses like that
we can defer at this time.
"What we try to do is to not affect
the maintenance budget and as far as
possible, make sure that the projects
that we have started are continued.
Even if they don t materialise now, it
is only a matter of it being deferred,
but it is not that they are being
scrapped." Rambachan said.
He said major infrastructural projects
such as repairs to the Manzanilla/
Mayaro Road, construction of the new
Caroni Road and the Sir Solomon
Hochoy Highway Extension would con-
He said progress on the Caroni Road
was halted by three squatters who
refused to move from the right of way
but have recently made way for paving
of the final 100 metres of road. With
respect to the highway, he said the
Government had recently secured a
$1.5 billion loan to fund the project and
would seek another if the need arose
for completion in 2016. (KF)
$214m allocated for roadworks
No road repairs if
Suruj warns residents:
Rambachan said Nidco was in
negotiations with oil and gas
company bpTT with respect to the
Point Fortin/La Brea segment where
highway contractor Construtora OAS
would have to build a 750-metre
bridge over fields in Vance River. If
bpTT accepts their proposal, he said,
it would save the Government
He added that the Debe
interchange would be opened in a
month's time with the stretch of
highway from Oropouche junction to
Grant Trace, Rousillac, ready by April.
He added that tenders were being
offered for the redevelopment of the
M2 Ring Road from the South Trunk
Road, La Romaine, to the Debe
GOVT LOOKING TO SAVE $315M ON HIGHWAY
On January 12, Erin residents
began a week-long protest,
spreading from Quarry Village
to Buenos Ayres over poor road
conditions. Several fiery
roadblocks were set up along
the SS Erin Road in Lorensotte,
Rancho Quemado, Palo Seco
and Santa Flora.
Police arrested four men for
blocking the roads but this
further intensified the protests.
On January 13, police received
news that residents planned to
interfere with Petrotrin oil lines.
The MP for the area,
Fitzgerald Jeffrey, claimed that
his constituency was not
getting any attention because it
was held by the Opposition.
Rambachan said last week
rehabilitation would begin in
some places this week while the
actual repaving of the road
would begin in March.
On Monday, WASA and
Ministry of Works officials were
evaluating the work to be done.
in their area
Police officers remove tyres used during the protest to block the road.
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