The two-day work stoppage on construction of the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin would have no significant impact on the completion of the multi-billion-dollar project, newly-appointed Minister of Works and Infrastructure Suruj Rambachan said yesterday.
Rambachan said the workers’ concerns were matters which can be resolved and urged both parties to have regular meetings.
He said Labour Minister Errol McLeod was contacted and is willing to meet with stakeholders if necessary.
Rambachan visited the Golconda construction site yesterday, when he met the main contractor, Constructura OAS, on the progress of the highway.
He was accompanied by Minister in the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure Stacy Roopnarine and other officials.
“I have been visiting several projects to familiarise myself in a knowledge, information and learning exercise. I will find out whether the intervention of the (Labour) Minister is needed (on the current industrial impasse) and ensure this project is speeded up and remains within budget. I got a detailed presentation by the contractor and consultants, so I am familiar with some of the issues which are all resolvable,” Rambachan said.
The Minister said he was not worried by recent protest action by local workers contracted on the project.
“I am not unduly worried about the project and consultants are willing to work assiduously to ensure that it is opened in July,” he said.
Rambachan did not meet the workers, who returned to the jobsite earlier yesterday.
“There are 574 workers on this project and 93 per cent are local. We are also urging contractors to use more local suppliers. I understand that 70,000 tonnes of cement will be used on this project and only five per cent has been used so far. So the local cement plants can play a part here,” Rambachan said.
He answered allegations by workers that a manager’s son was taxing potential workers $2,500 for jobs.
“I am not aware of that and if that is the case I will have to find out,” he said.