The Highway Re-Route Movement (HRM) has proclaimed that they have always been, and is, in favor of the construction of the San Fernando to Point Fortin highway. However, the HRM has difficulty with the Debe to Mon Desir link to the main highway which will push through the Oropuche Lagoon. It is this particular segment of the highway for which they recommended a substantive review, including a social impact assessment, a hydrological study, and a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed construction.
Whilst this may be the views of the HRM, we the citizens of T&T should not be subjected nor held to ransom for this. Stopping work on the highway would have far-reaching implications for the country as a whole. Point Fortin is an important borough which has a sizeable population and important industrial activity takes place in its environs, principally connected to the island’s oil and gas sector. Between San Fernando and Point Fortin are towns which include Debe, Penal, Siparia and Fyzabad, also with significant populations. The SS Erin Road, which is a two-lane road, is very congested, especially where it passes through these towns. It is a winding road intersected by many other feeder roads that also add to the congestion. Is the HRM considering these persons and the standard of daily commute?
Further, if injunctive relief is granted at this stage to stop that project, the financial implications will be quite dire because the government has a contract with OAS and that contract, regardless of what happens with the Government and the matter in court, that contract would have had economic consequences for the taxpayers in this country because it would result in a significant legal claim by OAS.
I think that the court ruling earlier this month in favour of the government averted a major catastrophe.