Monday November 25, 2019
Sangre Grande, how you feeling? Thank you for having me and for welcoming team UNC. I can feel the energy here.
I can see that you are ready. You are ready to get T&T working again!
Bail Amendment Bill
I want to pause to pay tribute to a great man – Wayne Chance. I offer condolences to his family. He was a great human being, a great soul. I had the privilege to work with him in his mission to try to help other persons and he understood, as we in the Opposition do, that in the fight against crime, you cannot just work to lock up people. You must give them a second chance, and that is what he did – helped former prisoners rehabilitate so that they could have a second chance.
This Government does not understand that.
They are coming with a bill on Wednesday that they want to pass before the election. And they are bringing it on Wednesday to provoke the Opposition in the Parliament. We know that crime is a major problem. But our answer is not to just throw people in jail and throw away the key. It is not about jailing everybody.
We will not stand for that; we will protect your human rights – your fundamental rights. And that is what we plan to do on Wednesday.
Because in this Bill (The Bail (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2019), they’re saying if you’re found in possession of a weapon – imagine you are in a building somewhere, and they come in and find a firearm. You have nothing to do with that, but this law will allow them to pick up everyone in that building and put them in jail with no bail.
Will you support that?
We are saying, if your child is in a car going to school for example and for some reason there is a weapon in that car trunk – nothing to do with your child or anyone else in that car – they can lock up everyone in that vehicle or maxi or bus – and no bail for 120 days.
That cannot be the answer. We are saying we want an amendment to the law. If the person has a conviction for an offense, then no bail. That is a reasonable compromise.
We cannot support this Bill in its current form. We want to pass good law. Their plan is to bring it on Wednesday; they will not accept our amendment, then go all over saying Kamla and the UNC supporting criminals. That is their plan.
Tonight, I say if they make the change, we will say yes in the Parliament.
We are committed to fighting crime, but I wanted to raise this matter tonight to send a clear signal that we will not accept this bill in its current form.
The importance of the Local Government Election
We are at a critical moment.
We are just days away from the December 2nd Local Government Election, and things are heating up.
Your great party, the United National Congress has been out in the communities, meeting with you, the people. And the response has been overwhelming.
We know you have concerns. We know you are worried about your futures. We know you are in dire need of basic amenities – roads, proper drains, healthcare, jobs, and to be able to feel safe in your homes.
I know you have been suffering. While the incompetent Government fetes, you have to figure out how to put food on the table.
On December 2nd, you may not be able to rid yourself of this incompetent, uncaring, vision-less Rowley regime, but you can make change happen. Send them a message!
You can elect a team that can get the job done, and that team is the United National Congress. Take that first step – on December 2nd put your X next to the rising sun!!
On this stage are our brilliant candidates, ready to serve you!
They are all well prepared; they have undergone training and they have been walking in their communities, getting to know their burgesses.
You can rest assured that you will get great service from your UNC representatives.
You know, when we first took office and formed the Government in 2010, I called upon my team to ensure that they did this one thing: Serve the people.
And I have asked the same of all our candidates in this local government election. When you win, use your term in office to serve the community, to build the community and by so doing, build Trinidad and Tobago.
Transformation is coming
You know, it is pathetic that the PNM is running a “change” campaign.
They forgot that they’re in power? Is that why they’ve done nothing in four years? This government has no achievements in 4 years.
Rowley boasting about spending 17 million on a house in Tobago, when it’s more like 25 million they spent on a mansion for Rowley, but they can’t finish one school in four years! They are breaking down homes and evicting people in Santa Flora and Valencia but building mansion for Rowley.
They spent over 3 million dollars on Maxie Cuffie but what about the children who are dying because they can’t get funds from the children’s life fund? What about the people who are dying on the corridors and floors of the hospitals while the most pathetic Minister of Health fails on the job day after day!
They gifted the greedy Faris a 23-million-dollar sole select rental contract but coming to give you a URP ten days.
That is how little they care. Tell them you want sustainable jobs! The UNC was preparing our young people for the digital age with laptops, smart schools and gate. They took those away and giving you light bulbs and URP ten days.
They want to weaken our young people by taking away their educational opportunities. Say no to that and vote them out.
The UNC was working hard and getting the job done – maybe they expect us to keep doing their jobs for them?
The Rowley regime is incapable of governing, their entire platform is about lies, insults, innuendo, fear and divisiveness.
Rowley and his ministers appear pathetic and broken with no confidence in anything they are saying on their platforms.
Everyone can see through Rowley’s fake machismo and understand how insecure and weak he is.
Their lack of confidence due to their incompetence causes them to attempt to terrorize people by insults, smears and trashy commentary because that’s what gives them the confidence, they feel they need.
However, what they don’t know is that criticizing others will never satisfy their need for confidence or competence. Blaming Kamla will not help them overcome their insecurities and incompetence.
They have a fixation on flaws in themselves but have no idea how to fix these flaws so they think that by projecting this belittling aggression through blaming everyone they can conceal their weaknesses by highlighting the supposed flaws of others.
They have a deception of self-hatred due to their incompetence and ineptitude. They would rather tear things down than build things up because it’s easier to shoot down the ideas of others than coming up with their own.
I would feel sorry for them if they weren’t such damaging people. But what goes around comes around eventually.
The UNC platform is about plans, policies and getting our country working again.
We are the only political party that has put out a comprehensive economic and social transformation plan. All the other side has given to you is derogatory speeches and insults.
After four years, tell us your plan!
After four years, tell us your achievements!
They have none, no plan, no policy and no achievements. That is why no one cares about them anymore. It’s really sad to say this, but everywhere in our country, Rowley and his ministers have become a laughingstock. People see them as lazy jokers and are now just pitying them.
It’s time for you to ignore Rowley and his pitiful bunch just as I ignore them. While they humiliate themselves in meetings all over the country unhealthily obsessing about blaming Kamla, you should focus on what matters most to you.
Focus on real issues that will improve the lives of you and your children. This is what my platform is offering to you an opportunity to uplift yourselves.
Do not take PNM bait and go low. Stay positive and talk good, do good and be good, and good will follow you.
The Government I led, and previous UNC Governments worked to improve our country and to improve the lives of every citizen in Trinidad and Tobago.
I want to tell them – yes, a change is coming. But no, Dr Rowley, you are not the change.
The people have had enough.
They are fed up of your incompetence, laziness and bumbling.
The people of this country are ready to vote you out of office and return good governance to our nation.
We are going to start on December 2nd, and we will do it again in the General Election – the people will vote for the United National Congress, and we will get T&T working again!
My friends, we are living in troubling times. This election campaign has been fraught with reports of attempts at intimidation of UNC supporters, and worryingly – errors by the EBC.
There have been several incidents in which the ruling party has openly attempted to intimidate UNC supporters, and these have been reported to the police.
The PNM has finally realized that their days are numbered, and the people are coming for them.
I call on all political parties to ensure that this type of behaviour does not continue.
Our country has had a history of peaceful elections, and citizens must be able to feel confident that they can exercise their franchise freely.
After four years, ask yourselves – are you better off today?
Are you safer today?
Can you provide for your families?
Do you have a job?
These are the issues that matter most. These are the problems that need to be fixed.
But the PNM is only about deflection and distraction.
They are trying to “mamaguy” the people – throwing out promises and engaging in activities to give the impression that they are working.
Here in Sangre Grande we are hearing of a road paving and box-drain frenzy. But the Works Minister is trying to convince people that it’s not for votes. Sure, Rohan, we believe you.
All of a sudden you decide to pave roads a week before elections but you expect us to believe you that it’s not for votes?
Now, I have some questions for Rohan – but I’ll get to that in a moment.
In Port of Spain, there’s now a water tank giveaway. They can’t provide water for you, so they say “here, we’ll give you this free tank so you’ll vote for us” ….and remain quiet. That is the way the PNM operates!
The people will not be fooled; they see through the PNM’s empty promises and see them for what they are – incompetent and clueless.
Questionable Cunapo Bridge Project
My friends, I have a very important matter to raise with you. I feel I must raise this issue because people need to be reminded about the nature of the PNM.
You will remember recently the Minister of Works and Transport, Rohan Sinanan, came to Sangre Grande to cut a ribbon to open the Cunapo Bridge.
This project included the construction of a new bridge and roadway.
The Cunapo river channel which ran under the old Cunapo Bridge was realigned to now run under the new bridge that was constructed.
According to a Newsday Report dated 11th August 2019, the Director of Bridges Jagdeo Mahadeo indicated that two options were presented in 2016 for the Cunapo Bridge Project.
Which meant that in 2016 a decision still had to be made regarding the manner in which the project will be undertaken- whether the bridge will remain where it was or whether it will be relocated.
Well Mr. Mahadeo stated that from the options the design which was chosen involved the diversion of the river channel and the acquisition of lands from two private owners.
Therefore, they had to run the river through a private owner land and relocate the bridge and construct it over the new river channel.
So, this is the survey plan for the land before the start of the project, you will see the river running on the northern boundary of the land shown in pink.
This is the Google Map Image of the land in 2017 before any work was done:
This is the project started so you see the private owner’s land being cleared, this picture was taken in 2018:
This is the project started so you see the private owner’s land being cleared, this picture was taken in 2018, a new road constructed, and the bridge being built:
Now, remember I told you earlier that the option chosen for this project was the acquisition of lands from two private owners. This was done so that the river now has to pass through the land of the private owners.
So, the lands will now have to be acquired for a public purpose.
I also told you that this was a project of the Ministry of Works and Transport.
A land search was done on the lands where the river now runs through. I have a Deed in my possession.
According to a Deed dated 19th January 2009, the parcel of land now belongs to one Rohan Sinanan which he bought for 1.9 Million Dollars.
Tonight, I call on Rohan Sinanan to confirm or deny the contents of this Deed that is registered in the Ministry of Legal Affairs that indicates he is the owner of the land.
I am asking Rohan Sinanan whether at the time the decision was taken to acquire the lands whether he was part of those deliberations.
I call on Rohan Sinanan to state whether he received any monies for those lands. And if so, what is the total sum of monies that was paid to him by the State?
Before, Rohan Sinanan come by your gate to ask for your vote let him answer these questions first.
Do you remember the Curepe Interchange, which Rohan Sinanan admitted that he has a beneficial interest in?
The project is due to be completed this year, but up until now the negotiation for the acquisition of the land can’t be completed.
Rohan Sinanan must come clean and tell this country whether he benefited from the Cunapo Bridge Project.
We have continued to see the friends, families and financiers benefit – from million dollar contracts to the wives club to the 23-Million-dollar Man, to a sitting Senator and General Secretary of the PNM being given state contracts.
UNC’s plan for economic transformation
Right here in Sangre Grande – for decades this community was neglected while the PNM government focused its efforts solely on urban development in Port of Spain.
From 2010-2015, the Government I led brought much-needed attention and resources to the Toco/Sangre Grande constituency to improve the quality of life of residents.
- We paved roads, and constructed box drains in Guaico, Coalmine, Toco, Valencia, Vega de Oropouche and Sangre Grande and in other areas.
- We upgraded recreation grounds in Grand Riviere, North Oropouche, Sangre Chiquito, Sangre Grande, and Toco, and the North Eastern Community Centre to give our youths safe spaces for sport and social activities.
- We started work to provide modern health to service the constituency.
- We promoted tourism in the area by refurbishing the Toco Lighthouse and constructing the Valencia Visitor Centre.
- We improved in education by providing opportunities at COSTATT, the Technical and Vocational and Training Centre and the OJT Centre.
- We completed the port in Galeota and the Valencia bypass.
You know all of this. You saw development come to this area under my Government. The facilities are still there, although the PNM cannot bear to admit it.
As I mentioned, your great party has been working and continues to refine our National Economic Transformation Master Plan 2020-2025.
One of the things I have mentioned and deserves repeating over and over because we know we can do it – we will create 50,000 new jobs by 2025.
We created jobs before, and we will create 50,000 jobs again!
Future Plan for Sangre Grand
We will encourage investment in Resort, Eco and Cultural tourism. This will ensure conservation while broadening the region’s economic base, 40% of your land is currently under statutory protection and this is an area where the beaches and rivers serve as recreation areas.
We will revitalize the agricultural sector. Cash crops such as cocoa and coffee, coconuts, citrus, plantains, bananas, mangos, vegetables and root crops, rice, livestock, poultry and honey from beekeeping are already produced. We will create a node for Agro and Fish processing as we ramp up production, and in so doing, create jobs.
We will implement strict regulation and monitoring of the Quarry Industry with the Minerals Advisory Committee which was already been set up to ensure that any quarries given out have to be mined 5 acres at a time and be replenished before going on to the next.
We will improve on social and physical infrastructure to serve the needs of additional housing in the area. Some of this will be done by HDC and some will be done through public/private partnerships and private sector development will also be encouraged.
We will improve the functional efficiency of the Sangre Grande Town Centre. We will strengthen the municipal core and expand it and connect people and communities.
We will engage in medium intensity industrial development in the Guaico/Sangre Grande area, which will bring jobs and income to the region. This means that this region will be developed with a community core with a range of services to make the community as self-sufficient as possible.
The services we will support in the Guaico/Sangre Grande area will include banking services, professional offices, retail trades, restaurants, entertainment facilities, market development and of course Government services.
Buildings in the Community Core will be able to go as high as 6 stories. This will open up opportunities for business and commerce in Cumuto, Guaico, Sangre Grande and the whole Rio Claro/Princes Town area and inevitably Princess Town, Rio Claro, Mayaro, Manzanilla, Sangre Grande, Guaico, Cumuto will all be connected bringing people, communities, commerce and activity together.
We will construct a car park in Sangre Grande to support Park and Ride along the East-West corridor, and we will have a dedicated bus lane with Express service to Arima and to Port of Spain, which will establish Sangre Grande as a transit hub.
Establish a solar energy park in Tamana In-Tech park
We have our own natural renewable resource, the sun – that is underutilized. In recent years solar power has surged to become the cheapest and fastest growing source of electricity on the planet.
We will invite private investors to establish a “Solar-tech” Park within the Tamana In-Tech park.
The “Solar-Tech” Park w,ill develop energy efficient, modular solar solutions which can be retrofitted to existing buildings or integrated into new construction projects and used in several other areas such as marine, communication and transport.
Tamana “solar tech” will supply solar technologies through licensing and supply agreements the product to provide specialist turnkey energy solutions to communities within the Caribbean region.
Investors will be required to fully finance their own solar projects.
Government will provide all necessary support required to fast track implementation of investors’ plans as well as tax incentives.
UNC best option to move T&T forward
My friends, we can safely say today that the UNC is not only the best hope for T&T, but we are the last hope for our overburdened nation.
People have been under constant attack by criminals, reeling from the high cost of living, a taxing government and uncaring and arrogant ministers.
The Keith Rowley regime has done nothing for the past four years but lectures citizens about weaning off the government.
My friends, we know the kind of people Rowley and his band of merry men are and what they have always been for all the decades they have been in politics
I am here to offer you a choice.
A choice of returning to the prosperity, growth and sustainable development.
A choice of investment in our children, lower levels of crime, higher foreign direct investment and so much more.
A choice between incompetence of the Rowley regime, and a team and leader with the vision and plan to move our country forward.
This election, do not sit and allow them to continue doing what they are doing to our nation.
This election is where we draw the line and we will send them a message, so that when the time for the General Election comes around, they will know what is coming.
The fight begins now for when the UNC retakes the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, this will only be the beginning.
And they know that change is coming under the UNC, everywhere you turn the people are crying out for the UNC. Every single one of my candidates is being received by all with open arms as people are completely fed up with every single member of the PNM.
But, God is good and God is with us in this fight and when God is for us, who on this earth can ever stand against us!?
Together with your support we shall retake this nation starting right here in Grande!
The UNC is here for you and the UNC is here to stay!
We are strong; we are united, and together we will get T&T working again!