Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 5th 2016 Contents A7
Tuesday, January 5, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
6.1000 6.2850 6.4500
4.2746 4.4995 4.8145
8.7785 9.2405 9.9060
6.5023 6.8445 7.3483
****** 0.0527 0.0564
2.1190 2.3033 2.4899
* 2.5770 ****** 3.3331
for JANUARY 04TH, 2016
La Brea MP Nicolle Olivierre yes-
terday blamed a lack of information
for yesterday protest action in her
constituency telling residents that
work had begun on the delapidated
roads since last week.
Olivierre, along with three other
government ministers --- Rural
Development and Local Government
Minister Franklin Khan, National
Security Minister Edmund Dillon
and Communications Minister
Maxie Cuffie---visited the commu-
nity yesterday following the protest.
Khan said they were mandated
by acting Prime Minister Colm
Imbert to deal with the residents
In an interview, Olivierre, who is
also the Energy Minister, said she,
along with Works and Transport
Minister Fitzgerald Hind,s were in
La Brea last Tuesday to evaluate the
work that needed to be done. She
said soil samples were taken for
analysis as the Government was
looking for a long-term solution to
the sinking road.
She said not all the residents knew
that repairs began last week, leaving
many with the opinion that nothing
was being done. She said workers
were expected to continue the work
yesterday but demobilised after
learning of the protest.
"Last week Tuesday I came down
with the Minister of Works and
Transport and a technical team and
we did some evaluations of the con-
ditions. We agreed on both a long-
term and short-term resolution. The
long-term resolution involves doing
some soil testing and studies so we
can come up with a properly engi-
neered solution to alleviate this
"The short-term measure was a
simple asphalting of the road to
smoothen it in the interim. However,
because it was close to the weekend
with the holidays, the workers only
came out on one day and started
working. New Year s Day and over
the weekend, no work was done and
it was not completed in the time
frame as expected.
"Some of the residents would have
been made aware but I guess every-
one was not told what happened so
perhaps they weren t sure that any-
thing was being done," Olivierre said.
On the issue of unemployment,
she said part of residents concerns
stemmed from discussions with the
owners of the DME plant that was
being built at the Union Industrial
Estate. She said they were given
assurances that they would be hired
for the project but they claimed that
outsiders were given the jobs.
She said Government was actively
looking at additional projects for the
Labidco and Union Industrial Estate.
Given the challenges with limited
natural gas reserves, she said no new
gas-based industries were being
planned for the area.
"We are looking at other projects
that can be implemented in the
shortest possible time because we
really are concerned about increasing
the level of economic activity within
the community and bringing more
jobs back to La Brea," she added.
Khan: Cut wastage,
Despite the country s financial
constraints as stated by Prime Min-
ister Dr Keith Rowley last week dur-
ing his address to the nation on the
state of the economy, Khan said they
believed that with cutting the
wastage of public funds and the high
cost of projects, they would be able
to achieve more than the former
People s Partnership government.
He said the country paid Trinidad
Generation Unlimited (TGU)$45 mil-
lion a month for unused electricity
based on a take-or-pay contract
Government has with the company.
He said they were now looking for
new non-gas businesses for the
Union Industrial Estate that would
use the available electricity.
"We are saying that if we stop the
wastage and the obscenity of cost
and we get value for money, we think
we can accomplish probably more
than the UNC accomplished in the
last five years with all their money.
"Our infrastructural projects still
continue, for example the San Fer-
nando to Pt Fortin Highway will be
completed and hopefully completed
in 2016, for the latest mid-2017. This
will now make this La Brea road a
minor arterial road that is linked
from the highway," he added.
Hundreds of school children and
workers were left stranded yester-
day as residents used piles of fiery
debris to block several roads leading
out of La Brea in protest against
poor road conditions and high
The protest, which started from
5.30 am, saw at least 18 blockades
at Point D Or, Sobo, Vessigny, Union
and Vance River, which affected
motorists heading to Point Fortin
and environs. It coincided with the
re-opening of the school term after
the Christmas break.
The area had been the scene of
many similar protests under the last
People s Partnership administration
with then MP Fitzgerald Jeffrey
among those voicing concern over
the high unemployment rate and the
poor road conditions.
The scene turned ugly as police
had to drag residents from the path
of a backhoe driven by soldiers, who
threatened to drive into defiant pro-
testers. At one point, police had to
lift a woman as the backhoe reached
within inches of her.
According to resident Neil Har-
risingh, villagers are frustrated with
the road conditions, adding that there
was not even a pavement to use. He
said it was also hard for them to
maintain their vehicles as the road
had many potholes and depressions.
"You all heard what Uncle Rowley
(Prime Minister Keith Rowley) said
on the TV, things will only get harder
before it gets better. We have it hard
for the longest while. For years under
the other administration we were
facing this. The councillor is at least
trying. He brought some pitch but
we need asphalt on this road. You
are not doing anything or what?
"No matter what administration,
like they don t care about La Brea.
We took it upon ourselves to make
sure nobody cannot use the road. It
is better they condemn this road and
build a road in the air because it is
like they can t make with this one,"
Lennox London said the youths
of La Brea were in need of employ-
ment and enhancement programmes.
He said while the councillor attempt-
ed to repair a major depression using
pitch, it made the road worst.
He added that La Brea MP Nicole
Olivierre was not seen in the com-
munity since the general election last
September. Residents also criticised
the construction of the Dimethyl
Ether (DME) plant at the Union
Industrial Estate in Vessigny, saying
that jobs there are being given to
people from outside the communi-
ty.With yesterday being the first day
of school, London said it was the
perfect opportunity to highlight their
problem as everyone around that
area would be affected.
Commercial activity in Point Fortin
was seriously affected by the protest
as there were reports of high absen-
teeism and late delivery of goods.
According to past president of the
Point Fortin South Western Chamber
of Industry and Commerce, Ricardo
Joseph, even the energy companies
"We had absenteeism at work-
places today in most of the areas for
the obvious reason of the roads being
blocked. This is a problem from
time-to-time because of the con-
dition of the road and so far we have
not had a definitive solution to the
"I know for a fact that oil com-
panies were affected because some
people did not report to work. Some
businesses in the community not
only had absenteeism but staff com-
ing in late.
"This impacted upon businesses
who depended on staff to operate
and it would of course affect their
profitability and customer service.
"School children were also affect-
ed. Some children had to leave the
area and those coming opted to stay
home because of the blockage,"
He agreed with the residents con-
cerns about the condition of the road,
saying it accelerates the wear and
tear of vehicles.
Joseph said while he did not have
evidence to say whether people from
outside the community were being
preferred for construction jobs on
the DME plant, it was something
the chamber constantly dealt with
and called for more local content in
projects along the southwestern
MP: Repairs began last week
Protest in La Brea over poor road, jobs
Young men play a game of football during the protest. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
A 31-year-old Arima busi-
nessman who going to be
married next month was
murdered at his business
According to police
reports, around 5.30 pm
Ricardo Boodan, was at his
cyber cafe and DVD store
along Tumpuna Road, Mal-
abar, when a group of men
entered pretending to be cus-
Boodan instructed the
women to lock themselves in
a backroom as he found the
men were acting suspiciously,
The women told investi-
gators they heard a gunshot
and later found Boodan with
a gunshot wound to the neck.
Boodan was later taken to
the Arima District Health
Facility where he was pro-
nounced dead on arrival.
He is the fourth person to
be murdered for the year.
Groom-to-be shot dead in Arima
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