Investigations into the fire that damaged First Citizens Bank’s Princes Town branch two weeks ago revealed it was maliciously set.
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Motor Vehicle Authority ready by September
The Motor Vehicle Authority (MVA) will not be fully operational in September, but instead is expected to be introduced in phases, says Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz. In February, Cadiz reportedly said the MVA would be fully operational by September, following the completion of the authority’s head office at Frederick Settlement, Caroni in June. In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian, he said the head office was expected to be completed in July and the administrative work of the authority would commence in September.
However, with regard to the transformation of the licensing system to a fully computerised system, Cadiz could not give a definite time frame. “The whole process will take some time and we continue to work to get other things in order. The infrastructural work which would include the head office at Frederick Settlement is on target to be completed by September.” He said legislative and human resource issues were outstanding.
“The ministry has signed off on the final draft, so the next step is to take it to Cabinet, then to Parliament.” “The complement of staff is in the vicinity of 700 and because we are changing over to a fully computerised licensing system, the main services required would be in the area of Information Technology (IT).”
In a letter to the T&T Guardian last year concerning the MVA, former Minister of Transport and Works Colm Imbert said: “The first phase of the new drivers permits and vehicle inspection system, comprising inspection and licensing of new vehicles and a fully computerised database, using the technology, proven systems and experience of the Province of Nova Scotia was in fact due for commencement in the second half of 2010, after the election. The full implementation of the project was scheduled for 2011.”
Asked to respond to those in the Opposition who said the project should have been completed by 2011, Cadiz said, “I’m not too sure if the original framers understood fully what a project like this entailed. There are other countries that have taken even longer to implement a project like this.”
Road works in Caroni
Major road works have been ongoing in and around Frederick Settlement to accommodate the increase in traffic that is expected with the opening of the MVA’s head office in September. Project Manager Hayden Philip said the work would be done in two phases:
• Phase 1: The construction of a dual carriageway which would link roundabouts at Washington Junction and Frederick Settlement. This phase is expected to be completed in September.
• Phase 2: The expansion of the current main Southern Main Road between TYE and the roundabout at the Caroni Bridge to a dual carriageway.
Residents in the area said they were looking forward to the developments in the area. Stephen Kangal, former Deputy High Commissioner to Canada who lives in Caroni Village, said the building of the MVA and major roadways through Caroni Village, Frederick Settlement, and La Paille Village would revive the area, which was once a hub of activities. “Through these developments, they’re bringing back the impact the area once had in the 1930s with the sugar factory and in the 1960s as a railway town.”
“We are looking forward to the benefits that would come with the opening of the licensing office here and the new roadways: Easier access to the airport for people from South, the increase in value of land, less traffic, and more employment opportunities.” Another resident said: “We are thankful for the balanced approach that the Government is taking with regard to development. The area has been neglected and marginalised for years, so we are very happy that something is being done.
Gurudutt Haresh Maharaj, one of the pundits in the area, said he was happy for the new roadways in the area but was concerned that the land used by the local mosque and temple for parking was being converted to a roadway. “While they are doing their work, if they can fix and cordon off an area for the mosque, temple, and church to use for parking we will be very happy because as it is now the only space that we could have used for parking is no longer there.”