PORT OF SPAIN — The money government is attempting to save by reducing the width of the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin, should be given to the residents who must uproot their lives and relocate.
This according to interim leader of the Independent Liberal Party, Jack Warner, who met with the affected residents during a meeting at Debe High School on Wednesday night.
Some residents who are members of the Debe to Point Highway
Action Committee called for a meeting with Warner after staging a road protest between Penal and South Oropouche on Monday.
They are demanding the compensation package that Warner promised them last year when he was Minister of Works and Infrastructure.
Warner said that when he was the minister, it was agreed that a budget of $7.2 billion would be spent to build a highway 100 metres wide, and not the 60 metres that was now being planned.
“I don’t know when that was changed or by whom … When the budget was made for the highway, when the contract was given, was on the basis of a futuristic highway of 100 metres wide,” he said.
Warner also said that three layers of paving was to be done, but the Golconda to Debe segment, due to be opened on August 30, had two layers.
“I didn’t agreed to that … because it’s wrong … It they are paving two layers instead of three, they saving money. Why not pay the people their compensation?” Warner said.
He said that with the width of the highway also being changed, more money will be available. Warner said that the situation with the residents was unfair but he was not to be blamed.
He said that had he still been the Minister of Works and Infrastructure, the promises would have been kept.
Warner called for there to be dialogue between the residents and the Members of Parliament for the area.
“These three MPs are very powerful. Bring them here on this table and ask them questions. Bring them together with NIDCO (National Infrastructure Development Company) … Change the monologue of the present Minister of Works into dialogue between MPs and you the people,” Warner said.
Also speaking at the meeting was president of the Debe to Point Fortin Highway Action Committee attorney Vashiest Maharaj, businessman Kamaludeen Ghanny and interim deputy leader of the ILP Anna Deonarine. (Express)