PORT OF SPAIN — Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday denied she ever gave any undertaking that her government would abide by the recommendations of the James Armstrong report.
Instead, she said the government would heed the ruling of the court on whether the controversial Debe to Mon Desir section of the $7.2 billion highway extension project would be constructed.
“I do not recall any such undertaking. I will abide by the rule of law because there is a court matter pending, government must not say or do anything that may compromise same,” Persad-Bissessar said yesterday.
Last year, environmentalist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh staged a 21-day hunger strike against the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the highway.
After consultation with the Government and the Highway Re-Route Movement, the Joint Consultative Council of the construction industry and civil society associations — Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute and Women Working for Social Progress — appointed an independent working group led by former independent senator Armstrong to examine the matters of concern with respect to the Debe to Mon Desir section of the highway.
Armstrong told the Express yesterday that he never had any contact with the prime minister during his work as the committee’s chairman and neither did she give any undertaking that the findings of the report would be followed.
“I worked for the JCC and the group s associated with the JCC. I never had any contact with the prime minister,” said Armstrong.
Kublalsingh started a peaceful protest on August 6 on a pavement outside the Office of the Prime Minister, St. Clair demanding a meeting with the prime minister so she could state her position on whether the Armstrong report would be followed.
Two days later, on August 8, the prime minister met Kublalsingh at the Diplomatic Centre, St. Ann’s and the meeting ended abruptly. Kublalsingh claimed that Persad-Bissessar could not answer questions that were posed to her.
Former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj has said the prime minister could be charged with misconduct in public office for her failure to abide by the Armstrong report. (Express)