The Rowley Administration is being asked to cease work on the $1.7 billion extension of the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway.
This call comes from Caroni East MP, Rishad Seecheran.
In a statement, Seecheran said the work had to stop, in order to determine the extent of the environmental damage the project has created and its impact on the worsening flooding in Sangre Grande and environs.
He said this $1.7 billion extension has no developmental benefit and would require additional roadworks to connect it to the Tamana InTech Park and to the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway.
“There could be no justification for this project, especially considering the extensive destruction of forested lands that is required. Hundreds of acres of virgin forests are being demolished to make way for a highway that is not a priority, while the national infrastructure is in a state of ruin, with hundreds of landslips and thousands of potholes in our national roadways, he said.
Seecharan added: “To tear down a heavily wooded area for a non-essential highway would put a lie to the Government’s recent declaration at the COP 27 Conference of its commitment to environmental sustainability. Various groups have opposed the Environmental Management Authority’s Certificate of Environmental Clearance and they must be commended for their patriotism.”
He said: “Sangre Grande residents have also voiced their frustration and indignation with the ongoing project, as flooding has greatly increased and threatened the value of their private and commercial properties. This project has seen the eradication of agricultural lands and has led to considerable floods in the heavily populated Sangre Grande, Guaico, and surrounding areas.”
According to Seecheran, “The Certificate of Environmental Clearance granted by the Environmental Management Authority raises crucial questions, given that the Technical Review Team has stated that issues with the Riparian Zone, have not been addressed satisfactorily by the Ministry of Works and NIDCO. The Riparian Zone is the interface between land and a river, which stabilizes stream banks and reduces floodwater velocity. Why grant a CEC for a project that would devastate a huge, forested area, that currently serves as a buffer against the ravages of climate change?”
He said we must repair, upgrade, and expand the nation’s current road network.
“Flood mitigation projects should also be a priority of this Rowley Administration. The Churchill-Roosevelt Highway Extension is nothing more than a vanity project, and an illogical undertaking.