Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 30th 2013 Contents A9
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Point Fortin mayor Clyde Paul says he
cannot understand why the Government is
"stressing out" the people rather than taking
an easier route to build the Solomon Hochoy
Highway extension to Point Fortin.
Speaking at a Highway Re-route Movement
meeting on Wednesday at City Hall, Port-
of-Spain, Paul said it was unfortunate a high-
way which had been proposed since the 1960s
had not been built yet.
He said as a result of all the controversy
surrounding the disputed Debe to Mon Desir
leg of the highway, the people of Point Fortin
were unsure of whether the highway would
ever reach their borough.
That was despite the fact that work already
had began on the Golconda section of the
highway, he added.
"The people in the borough of Point Fortin
support the Point Fortin highway. It will bring
development that the area needs," said Paul.
However, he added, residents in the borough
did not believe the highway would ever reach
"In fact, the only guarantee that the highway
would reach Point Fortin was if it had started
being built from the borough," he added.
Paul said he had approached the Ministry
of Works with that idea in 2010 and after
meeting with technocrats was told the idea
to start construction of the highway in Point
Fortin was a good one. However, Paul said,
he never received any further communication
from the ministry.
He said the borough also was dealing with
issues, such as high unemployment, an issue
which the construction of the highway could
He added: "We have 18 per cent unem-
ployment within the age group 18 to 25. The
highway was supposed to help with unem-
ployment. That has not happened.
"I cannot understand why the Government
is stressing out the people when it can take
an easy route and spend less money.
"We really need that highway. Start the
highway from Point Fortin so everyone can
The Golconda section of the highway was
officially opened yesterday but no significant
work on the route to Point Fortin has begun.
Former Attorney General and lawyer for the High-
way Re-route Movement (HRM), Ramesh Lawrence
Maharaj, believes if the HRM goes to court for an
injunction it will be successful, thus preventing the
government from building the controversial leg of
"I am confident that this part of the highway (Debe
to Mon Desir) will not be built in T&T," Maharaj said
while speaking at a public meeting, hosted by the
HRM at City Hall, Port-of-Spain, on Wednesday.
The movement is opposed to the Mon Desir to
Debe section of the Solomon Hochoy Highway exten-
sion and had taken the Government to court
in an effort to stop it, saying it will have
negative social and environmental conse-
In addition to displacing hundreds of cit-
izens, the highway is expected to pass through
one of this countries natural landmarks, the
In the interim, and despite the pending
court matter, which is scheduled to be heard
next month, Nidco recently announced it
intended to start work on the controversial
leg and the contractor had set up equipment
at the site.
"If we have to go for an injunction, we
will go for an injunction," Maharaj said to
a crowd of just over 100 people.
He said the HRM had not sought an
injunction before because of its ongoing
He also said if the movement had not
received the injunction, members feared
Government officials would mislead the
country into believing it was a sign the HRM
was not right to suggest an alternative route.
He believed the movement would be able
to use the Armstrong Report, which was
produced by a group of 19 scientists and
gave an assessment of the current Mon Desir
to Debe proposal to support any request for
Sunity Maharaj, who represented the Lloyd
Best Institute, said the continuing protest
over the highway had raised questions on
the rights of citizens.
"You are a group of people insisting on
your right to be taken into account," Maharaj
She reminded them, however, that theirs
were not the only rights being infringed on.
"You are not the only victims of arbitrary
governance. The same thing is happening
to people in Laventille who are getting locked
up and held by police, then released," she
She added: "It is remarkable that you are
still here, that the bulldozers have come and
gone and you are still here." KC
Point mayor on highway impasse:
Govt stressing us out
Ramesh: Injunction would be successful
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