RADHICA DE SILVA
Promising to bring jobs for retrenched Petrotrin workers, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says the new drydocking facilities to be built in La Brea will bring 5,000 jobs.
Speaking at the signing ceremony of a cooperative agreement between the Government and China Harbour Engineering Company Limited for the construction of a drydocking facility in La Brea, Rowley said the facility will provide job opportunities for skilled workers.
The PM said the facility will bring back business activity to La Brea, Rowley said once it comes on stream the project will grow the economy by seven per cent. The facility will offer inspection, ship repairs and maintenance for vessels traversing the West Atlantic.
Noting La Brea and Sangre Grande were the two areas in Trinidad which were furthest back in terms of development, Rowley said the facility will also provide opportunities for housing, restaurants and catering.
Speaking directly to residents, Rowley said T&T had lost valuable business because of the attitude of some La Brea residents who believe "if they can't get one egg, they will mash up the hen house."
Urging residents not to be labelled as industrial mischief makers, Rowley said the project was in keeping with the Government's Vision 2030 policy which includes maritime diversification. He reminded the country that the world did not owe T&T anything.
"We have to earn it by providing quality service," he said, adding that T&T has already lost several industries including sugar, cocoa, banana, copra and citrus. He said the facility will have two bases so that two vessels could be drydocked at the same time.
Rowley did not give a cost of the project but said he hoped it will be financed by the Chinese government in a public/private partnership.
National Infrastructure Development Company Limited chairman Herbert George said 13,000 vessels traverse the Panama Canal annually, adding that T&T could benefit from this maritime traffic.
Senior Business manager of China Harbour Engineering Company Limited, Rui Wang, described T&T as the gateway to the Americas. He said a market analysis study will be done in eight months and the construction will be completed in three years.
Check the T&T Guardian newspaper and the CNC3 newscast for further details.