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Roberts: Highway objectors selfish
Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Anil Roberts says the view expressed by those seeking to sacrifice the construction of the San Fernando to Point Fortin Highway in order to pave the way for an increase in the salaries for public servants, is an “asinine” and “emotional” suggestion. “You’ve heard an argument made by certain people, that we should not build a highway to Point Fortin but spend the money on raising salaries. “That sounds very good in an emotional argument but with the principles of economic planning and future development and increasing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of an area, it is an asinine suggestion at best,” Roberts said.
He made the statement on Monday as he brought greetings on behalf of his D’Abadie/O’Meara constituency at the official ceremony to commission the opening of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway from O’Meara Road to the Demerara Road. He was referring to the construction of a highway from Golconda to Point Fortin, carded to start this year at an estimated cost of $5.2 billion. At the ceremony, which took place at the corner of Tunapuna Road and the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway, Roberts sought to distinguish between what he saw as “selflessness” and “selfishness” as he measured the positive impact of highways on all of society and not just a concentrated few.
He believed that in order to facilitate a progressive future for the people of T&T, there must be an increase in productivity amongst citizens willing to see the “bigger” picture. He added: “This highway will not only ease congestion but increase productivity. “If we cut traffic down from two hours to one hour, that will increase the productive capacity by over 400,000 people which can benefit us to the tune of $12 billion over a year,” Roberts said. “Furthermore, by opening these highways, we open more areas for investment for both our private and public sectors which will create more jobs and an increased tax revenue for the state, so we will be able to pay the Public Servants Association (PSA), police, fire and whosoever wants more money,” he said. The minister, in lauding the successes of Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner in this initiative, reiterated that T&T needed more people who were “a little more selfless and a little less selfish.”
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