Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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The Point Fortin Highway, yay or nay
Ask a few people whether the Government should consider building the section of the Point Fortin highway from Debe to Mon Desir and most will tell you they don’t know. Many are supporters of the goodly doctor’s cause simply because they are in opposition to the government. Thus anything or anyone that opposes the government for whatever reason is somehow the right person.
The government, on the other hand, continues to seem impotent when it comes to articulating its position. Consequently, if one likes Dr Kublalsingh or is against the PP government then the highway should be stopped. On the contrary, if one supports the Government then such a person supports proceeding with that sector of the highway. What is clear is that this conflict could have been avoided if the government were to articulate their position factually, tactfully and firmly.
The simple straightforward fact is that the Debe to Mon Desir section of the highway was located along a path to allow citizens in the communities of Debe, Penal, Siparia, Fyzabad and Mon Desir to be serviced by the highway. It is the best possible route to allow for easy access from these communities to the major highway. Consequently, the lives of thousands of commuters will be positively impacted by this section of the highway. The alternative route proposed by Dr Kublalsingh bypasses these communities. One envisages that in any such undertaking there will be social and environmental issues. These issues can all be dealt with and must not be ignored. There were environmental issues when the Mucurapo foreshore freeway and the MovieTowne complex were built in mangrove areas. One can imagine that there were similar concerns when the Mosquito Creek roadway was built between the sea and mangrove, or the Sir Solomon Hochoy highway through the Caroni swamp.
These issues can be and ought to be resolved but should not prevent the development of a nation. In the environmentally-sensitive USA there is a section of highway in Florida called Alligator Alley that passes through the Florida Everglades, a nature preserve. As such the environmental concerns of Dr Kublalsingh are not insurmountable. The doctor’s social concerns, however, seems ambiguous. The highway occupies small parcels of land and positively impacts all the surrounding lands. Thus, landowners in the area will see their land value dramatically increase in value. The communities will as a result not only gain increased value for their property but will be serviced by access roads thus allowing for increased economic activity.
There will always be sectors of a nation that are opposed to change. Change in the workplace, at home, at institutions is constant and is the only access to development. No one person or group ought to stand in the way of progress especially when it positively impacts the lives of thousands. Support for the highway or lack thereof ought not to be based on what political party is in service or whether one likes or dislikes anyone. It should be based on common sense backed by sound engineering and developmental planning that leads to the improvement of the quality of live for the citizens of T&T. God bless our nation.
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