Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 1st 2015 Contents Despite falling oil prices, cit-
izens are urging the Government
not to stop construction of the
controversial Debe to Mon Desir
segment of the Solomon Hochoy
They believe the much-needed
highway, which comes with a $7.5
billion price tag, will bring massive
improvement and would reduce
the number of hours motorists
spend on the roadways in South.
On the flip side, others feel if
the Government holds its hands
on the project, it would save the
country money and prevent T&T
from going into a recession.
They also noted that the money
allocated for the highway could
be spent on far more important
Though the views were mixed,
a recent poll showed that despite
a tumble in oil prices, 57 per cent
of respondents stated that the
Government should proceed with
construction of the highway.
However, 30 per cent agreed
that Government should stop
construction of the highway, while
13 per cent stated they "don t
These were the findings of a
recent Trinidad Guardian poll
conducted and supervised by Prof
Derek Chadee, director of the
ANSA McAL Psychological
Research Centre, University of the
West Indies, St Augustine.
The poll, a nationwide survey
held from January 29 to February
3, interviewed 507 respondents
over the age of 18 selected by a
random digit dialling method.
The intention of the survey was
to assess popular opinion on a
number of major issues.
Overall, the sample consisted
of 35 per cent Afro-Trinidadians,
39 per cent Indo-Trinidadians, 25
per cent Mixed race persons and
one per cent other groups.
Of the sample, 53 per cent were
The margin of error is plus or
minus four per cent.
Given the drop in oil prices, do
you think that Government should
stop construction of the Debe to
Mon Desir section of the high-
Yes -- 30 per cent
Don t know -- 13 per cent
The majority of respondents
said they did not think the Gov-
ernment should stop construction
of the Debe to Mon Desir section
of the highway. Fifty-seven per
cent of people responded "no,"
30 per cent responded "yes" and
13 per cent "don t know" to this
Analysis of responses by eth-
nicity showed that Indo-Trinida-
dians were most likely to support
the continued construction of the
Specifically, 77 per cent of Indo-
Trinidadians in the sample, 44
per cent of Afro-Trinidadians and
44 per cent of Mixed race persons
responded "no"---a 33 per cent
The response of "yes" was
given by 43 per cent of Mixed
race persons, 39 per cent of Afro-
Trinidadians and 14 per cent of
"Don t know" was given by 17
per cent of Afro-Trinidadians, 12
per cent of Mixed race persons
and nine per cent of Indo-
Analysing responses by sex
showed no significant difference
between the responses of males
Specifically, 61 per cent of males
and 54 per cent of females
Thirty-three per cent of females
and 27 per cent of males respond-
A similar number of females
and males, 13 per cent and 11
per cent, respectively, answered
"don t know."
With respect to education, 66
per cent tertiary educated, 57 per
cent secondary, 55 per cent pri-
mary and 44 per cent technical/
vocational stated "no."
Persons with technical/voca-
tional (43 per cent) education were
most likely to say "yes," followed
by 30 per cent with primary, 30
per cent secondary and 25 per
There were marginal differences
among those responding "don t
know," with 15 per cent primary,
14 per cent secondary, 14 per cent
technical/vocational and nine per
cent tertiary educated giving this
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt March 1, 2015
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CHARLES KONG SOO
Economist Dr Roger Hosein says the San Fer-
nando to Point Fortin highway project will boost
the economy and stimulate growth and employ-
The Sunday Guardian also posed several questions
to the economist seeking his opinion:
Given the drop in oil prices, do you think the Gov-
ernment should stop construction of the Debe to
Mon Desir section of the highway or continue?
Is the US$850 million Mitsubishi methanol to
dimethyl ether plant at La Brea Union Estate still
feasible given the worldwide fall in oil prices?
What is his opinion on developing infrastructure
to attract investment to the country?
Hosein said, "I think that they should continue
with the highway from San Fernando to Point Fortin.
"It is one of the developmental expenditure I sup-
port a lot because it would open up economic spaces
and augment the capacity of the economy to produce
more goods and services for areas like Point Fortin
and the southwest where there are vast tracks of
underutilised and unutilised resources.
"The national unemployment rate is 3.1 per cent
and so there is a genuine need to open capacity. The
expansion would allow agricultural and other goods
from the South to move in a less hassling and shorter
time period to different geographical locations in the
country." He said the performance of the economy
since 2007 had stuttered.
Hosein said if 50 per cent of the wasted money
on transfers and subsidies had been taken during the
last ten years and spent on the supply side of the
economy, the real economic growth rate of the econ-
omy today would have been much higher and the
heavy reliance on the petroleum sector would be
He said the planned investment in La Brea was to
be undertaken by the Mitsubishi Company of Japan
and Massy Ltd of T&T.
Hosein said as it stood there had been no announce-
ment that this plan was being halted and for the
present it would go ahead.
The economist said in order to get the non-energy
sector going there was a need to generate as many
economic rents in the energy sector and use part of
the surplus created therein to help boost the non-
booming tradeable sector.
He said, on this basis, the Mitsubishi plan was
welcome and all attempts should be made to promote
it. Hosein said that it was mainly private sector driven
and therefore did not eat up a considerable amount
of state resources.
'Good for economy'
Given the drop in oil prices, do you think
the Government should stop
construction of the Debe to Mon Desir
section of the highway?
•It will save them some money
•There are more important things on which the
money could be spent
•The country could go into a recession
•There might be more problems if oil prices
continue to fall
•Stopping now would cause them to lose a lot of
•The money was already budgeted for
•The people need the highway
•The highway will bring massive improvement
Debe to Mon
Desir highway PUBLIC COMMENTS
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