Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 21st 2013 Contents A11
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Opposition Leader Dr Keith
Rowley says the Government is
being "cavalier" about concerns
raised by seismologists and scien-
tists over the proximity of the $1.5
billion Couva Children s Hospital
to the earthquake-active Central
Range Fault in Preysal.
Rowley, speaking with reporters
during a walkabout at Fanny Village,
Point Fortin on Thursday afternoon,
expressed concern over the Govern-
ment s response to the arguments
put forward by scientists about the
hospital s location.
On Monday Lloyd Lynch, a
research fellow in instrumentation
at the UWI Seismic Research Cen-
tre, in an exclusive T&T Guardian
article, expressed reservations about
the earthquake parameters (the
earthquake magnitude a building
could withstand) being used in the
hospital s design.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan and
Dr Roodal Moonilal, after discussing
the matter with government tech-
nocrats, said the design is structurally
Shanghai Construction, a Chinese
firm, has been given the green light
to continue construction of the hos-
However, Rowley is not satisfied
with the government s approach.
The Opposition Leader, who is a
geologist, said, "The Government is
being very cavalier. I have filed a
question in the Parliament asking
specific information about who is
taking responsibility to ensure the
designs meet the potential earthquake
hazards as indicated by scientific
He said he knows one of the sci-
entists who did the work and "there
is evidence that should serve as cause
"But government doesn t care.
That is not the approach we need,"
Lynch s comments followed similar
concerns raised last month by seis-
mologist Dr Joan Latchman. A group
of engineers, calling themselves Engi-
neers Anonymous, also expressed
concerns. They are contending that
the fault line poses a significant seis-
mic threat to T&T and the hospital.
Rowley said it is possible to build
on an earthquake zone as they do all
over the world, "but your designs
have to meet certain standards and
what we want to know is that the
designs meet the earthquake stan-
He stressed that hospitals are sup-
posed to be designed "up to the high-
est standards and therfore we asked
the questions in the Parliament and
we await the answers."
The Association of Professional
Engineers (APETT) will host a sem-
inar next week with Udecott officials
and Dr Derek Gay, who did the geot-
echnical tests on the site.
Engineers Anonymous, in a state-
ment, maintained that the geotech-
nical report is not enough to guide
designers and urged government to
do a seismic hazard analysis.
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley is accusing
government of tampering with statistics to make it
look as if the T&T economy is on a sound footing.
Speaking during a walkabout at Fanny Village, Point
Fortin on Thursday afternoon, Rowley said it was not
accurate that T&T had experienced four periods of
consecutive growth as outlined by Finance Minister
Larry Howai during his budget presentation.
Scores of residents greeted Rowley. They complained
of poor drainage, high unemployment and inadequate
recreation facilities. Rowley told residents it was time
to remove the People s Partnership.
"This government cannot be trusted. In 1991, we
had a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of a certain
level and they lowered it in the books. Now they are
saying we are higher than before, but we have not
yet reached back to where we were in 2008," Rowley
"The impression that we have grown in the economy
is false. Artificially they have suppressed the numbers.
In Parliament we showed them how and we used
their own documents to show this. They playing
smart with foolishness."
Rowley noted that even though the budget had
been passed, it contained a series of the problems in
the areas of energy and health.
He also predicted that the initiatives to get drivers
to switch to compressed natural gas would fail. "We
are concerned that government has allocated $1 billion
for two CNG initiatives and we don t think it will
make a difference at all," Rowley said.
He also said the mathematical formula used for
electing aldermen using proportional representation
was meant to ensure the government maintained a
footing in all regional corporations.
The walkabout ended around 7 pm with a cottage
meeting at the Fanny Village Community Centre,
where Rowley spoke about government s recently
concluded pact with the Venezuelan government for
development of the Loran-Manatee gas fields, which
straddle T&T and Venezuela s maritime boundaries.
"You cannot trust this Government. They have
cheated and robbed us by signing that deal with
Venezuela," Rowley said.
He said a release from PDVSA, the Venezuelan
state-owned oil and natural gas company, had indicated
the company would build the pipeline from the field
to the Venezuelan coast.
Political leader of the PNM Keith Rowley greets residents during his walkabout in Point Fortin on Thursday evening.
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
...gives Pt Fortin earful on unreliable Budget
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