When Keith Rowley made his asinine statement that the Highway to Point Fortin would end in Penal that made big headlines in the national media. The United National Congress responded immediately and called Rowley a liar and provided evidence to show that work was already in progress from the Point Fortin end.
Here is a photo providing the proof:
But the media didn’t bother with the UNC side of the story until Carson Charles set the records straight. The Sunday Express quoted Charles as saying Rowley was speaking “rubbish and nonsense”.
Charles is the president of the National Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco), which is responsible for the highway project.
He told the paper, “He (Rowley) is talking nonsense. It is the opposite to what he is saying. We expect to get to Penal and to cross Penal and to continue.” He added, “The project is moving ahead of pace and we definitely expect to open the highway to Point Fortin next year. We are in fact going to open segments before that as we go towards 2015.”
The facts about the highway are no secret. Even the mayor of Point Fortin, Clyde Paul, was excited about the highway construction work taking place in Point Fortin. This is what he told the Express in 2012: “From day one, when they were turning the sod, I said we should do this…”
Journalism is about truth, fairness and balance. Even without a rebuttal from the UNC or an explanation from Charles the media could have balanced the story about Rowley’s lie. The facts were there in their archives if somebody just checked. There never was any doubt about it except in Rowley’s head.
So was it sloppy journalism or was it pro-Rowley journalism? I leave that for you to decide.
Rowley told another lie that night in Marabella but again, the media didn’t bother to check the facts or call him out. Here is what he said, as reported in the local media:”When this Government came into office in May, 2010, they met the government of Trinidad and Tobago engaged in the construction of a highway to Point Fortin.”
That’s a bold face lie and the evidence is available in the public domain. It was the People’s Partnership government that started that project in January 2011.
Here is the report on the launch of the Project:
Perhaps the PNM might have started it, but they didn’t. They had been promising that highway since the days of Eric Williams but it never happened. And although they had selected a contractor – Construtora OAS of Brazilian – there is no way they would have completed it given their track record of delays and cost over runs. (Look at the Taruba stadium and the Scarborough hospital).
So checking the facts: The Manning government was not “engaged in the construction of the highway to Point Fortin” as Rowley claimed. That is a lie. And here’s another one.When the government announced that OAS was the contractor Colm Imbert, who was the minister of works in the Manning administration, accused Jack Warner of giving the job to his FIFA friends. Warner was the works minister at the time and also a vice-president of FIFA.
For the records, Warner devoted his entire speech to showing the timelines. Warner said a 15-member committee comprised of government officials and experts met on May 20, four days before the general election, and recommended that the contract be awarded to Construtora, which had the lowest bid of $5.2 billion.
Referring to notes from the ministry, Warner said that same day – May 20, 2010 – the board of NIDCO, which is responsible for the project, took a decision to hand the contract to Construtora. The PP government met a done deal and all that was left was to sign on the dotted line.
Read the story:
But Imbert was content to lie about this matter although he was involved and he knew the facts better than anyone.
So how could the highway be under construction under the PNM as Rowley claimed but the works minister at the time said it was Jack who awarded the contract? Two set of lies contradicting the liars!
The level is lies coming from the PNM is shameless and it seems that no one in the media cares about doing a reality check when people make controversial statements such as the one Rowley made last Wednesday in Marabella.
Rowley is making a habit of telling lies. Do you remember his fabricated story about Anand Ramlogan going to the Trinidad and Tobago mission in New york and complaining about the ethnicity of staff there? Anand was never in New York but Rowley persisted with his lies until he got caught and then he apologised.
Rowley and his friends have been doing everything they could to stop the highway project. There have been delays but the work is continuing and the highway will end in Point Fortin. The PP government under Kamla would do what the PNM could not – build a highway from San Fernando to Point Fortin.
And Rowley’s lies cannot stop that and other development projects that would make life better for citizens of Trinidad and Tobago no matter where they and which party they support. That’s because she is a leader and Rowley is not.
Jai Parasram – 16 February 2014