Steady As She Goes...

UPDATE: Dec 5, 2012

'I will end with victory in a few days'. Kublalsingh seeks changes to JCC framework. | Trinidad Express | Dec 5, 2012 at 12:07 AM ECT.

"Even as environmental activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh has agreed to some of the parameters of the general framework signed by the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) and the Government, he maintained yesterday that no one was "bound to accept the recommendations" of the independent committee. "

...With regard to the framework agreement, he said: "This is just to provide the public with information, so they can make an assessment on their own; no one is bound to their conclusions, either the Government or the Highway Re-Route Movement. This is to provide public information, so that you yourselves can see whether Debe to Mon Desir (section of the highway) is good or bad," he said. 

Amendments to the draft proposal between the JCC and the Works Ministry could end Kublalsingh's hunger strike. Kublalsingh reviewed the proposal on Monday night and refused only one part of the agreement and modifications to another part. 

"Part three of the general framework must be restated to say that no construction work should begin in the Debe to Mon Desir highway, including the interchanges, whilst the committee meets," he said. 

Part three of the general framework document reads: "Work will continue on sites of the highway released to the contractor." 

The other amendments include the promise to undertake a cost-benefit analysis, a social-impact assessment report and a hydrology report." SOURCE

Trinidad Express | Dec 3, 2012 at 10:39 PM ECT

"The government relented to the demands of the Highway Re-route Movement, well somewhat. Work on the highway will proceed.

But, the Ministry of Works and NIDCO have allowed the Joint Consultative Council for the construction industry, to review all documentation on the highway. The developments were announced shortly after extensive deliberations among the relevant ministries and civil society groups."

JCC president after meeting with groups: No work on Debe to Mon Desir section.
By Richard Lord | Trinidad Guardian | Tuesday, December 4, 2012.

"The agreement which was arrived at yesterday. President of the Joint Consultative Council Afra Raymond insists no work will take place on the controversial Debe to Mon Desir segment of the Solomon Hochoy Highway Extension Project. Raymond spoke in a brief interview with reporters after yesterday’s agreement between the Government and civil society groups during four-hour talks at the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Port-of-Spain.

The JCC, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (Fitun), the T&T Transparency Institute (TTTI) and Women Working for Social Progress (Working Women) met with Works and Infrastructure Minister Emmanuel George, Environment and Water Resources Minister Ganga Singh, junior Works Minister Stacy Roopnarine and Nidco president Dr Carson Charles.

The three-point agreement was presented by George, who said the meeting was “very fruitful in pointing the way forward.” Environmentalist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh began his hunger strike 19 days ago because the contractor had started clearing the site for construction of the segment. Asked to clarify if the agreement provided for work on the controversial section to continue, Charles said: “Yes.”

George and Singh refused to comment on the issue when questioned for clarification. Raymond was asked and he insisted no work would continue on the Debe to Mon Desir segment. “No, no, the section in question, no,” Raymond said. Told by reporters the agreement said work would continue on the highway sites by the Government, Raymond said:  “I am a party to the agreement. I know what I am telling you.

“The section of the highway that is in dispute, there is no work going on there now and no work is going to start there. That’s it.” Asked if the contractor was not in possession of the land, Raymond said: “No, not at all. Not in possession, not in possession. All of that was hammered out. Not in possession. I am standing on this, okay?”

He said he was not sure the exercise to be done by the JCC would answer Kublalsingh’s concerns, but said: “We will attempt to address the concerns.” Earlier, in his brief speech, Raymond said the exercise was “a very challenging discussion and it was necessary for the resolution of this impasse in the interest of restoring public trust.”

He said the JCC and other groups were hoping that “Dr Kublalsingh will give serious consideration to ending that hunger strike.” Raymond said he hoped Kublalsingh’s group would also supply documents to the JCC working team, which is to be chaired by Independent Senator Dr James Armstrong. He said the rest of the team was yet to be determined.

Raymond said there was a need for the tone and language from both the Government and the Highway Re-route Movement to be more civilised. “We need to recover a more civilised tone. We need to recover a more reasonable tone. This is a very important step in restoring our civility.”

Signatories to the agreement were George, Singh, Roopnarine, JCC’s Raymond and members Winston Riley, Emile Elias, Fitun president Joseph Remy and Charles, representatives from the T&T Transparency Institute (TTTI) and Women Working for Social Justice.

The Agreement  
• The National Infrastructure Development Co Ltd will make available to the JCC all the relevant documentation in its possession on the project in respect of the Debe to Mon Desir segment of the highway extension
• The JCC will examine all the documentation provided by Nidco and all other relevant documentation and produce a report within 60 days from today’s date to Nidco for its consideration and its publication thereafter
• Work will continue on sites of the highway released to the contractor."

The letter with the petition from the JCC to the Prime Minister - November 26, 2012, is available here in pdf format.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!