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Jack assures Golconda families in highway path: Govt will give fair deal for relocation
Works and Infrastructure Minister Jack Warner says it is no secret that the delivery date of the $7.5 billion Point Fortin highway coincides with the general elections. In fact Warner said the PNM stronghold constituency of Point Fortin was one of the PNM-controlled constituencies his party will be seeking to capture in 2015. Warner disclosed this on Monday as he sought to allay the relocation concerns of some 300 families, living in the vicinity of the Golconda to Point Fortin highway path. Speaking at the Debe Secondary School, Warner said the scheduled opening date for the highway project was still 2012.
Adding that 2015 is also an election year, he said: “And there are constituencies that we don’t have as yet, but we have to win and one of them is Point Fortin. “I make no secret about it. We know we have no problem in Oropouche, no problem in Siparia and so on and that is not all. But we want all. “We have to go to Point Fortin and finish the highway and do for Point Fortin what the PNM have not done for them for 56 years.” He said the project will also generate employment. He assured residents that they will get a “fair deal” for their properties, saying that it would be foolish to disadvantage them because in 2015 they would have to return to them for their vote.
Addressing concerns about sufficient funds for the project, Warner assured that money was available on the local and foreign market. “Every Chinese firm want to lend us money,” he said, adding that they would only borrow money when they were ready for it.
Warner further assured residents that they will be given land and money including compensation for their inconvenience.
He said Hermitage was the initial relocation site but those lands were simultaneously leased to two companies. The alternative relocation site is Petit Morne, he said, and on Sunday residents will have an opportunity to tour the area. He added that they were prepared to pay up to a year in rent for residents while they construct their homes. He also assured residents of Siberan Drive, Esperance Village, whose homes were being affected by violent vibrations from machinery clearing the highway path that work would not commence until some arrangement was worked out.
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