PM says he never accused EMA of obstructing process of proposed hotel at Rocky Point

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PM says he never accused EMA of obstructing process of proposed hotel at Rocky Point

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has responded to media reports that insinuate that he attacked the Environmental Management Authority, (EMA) in relation to their alleged blocking of a hotel project at Rocky Point, Tobago.

In a statement posted on social media this morning, Rowley said:
“I recently spoke about how objectors who have issues with particular projects use the EMA process to muddy the water for such projects.
I never accused the EMA of doing that but I said that the objections are couched by using the EMA as the obstacle.”

He said he gave examples of when the UNC government refused to complete the EMA process so that the aluminum smelter project could proceed..

Rowley said this inaction effectively killed the project in midstream.

Secondly, the PM said said he also used the example of the objection to the Tobago Sandals project largely on environmental grounds.

He said: “Neither of these examples of the actions of others claimed that the EMA itself did anything. Not surprisingly the logic of some persons who may not have heard or read what I said, concluded that I attacked the EMA. One brilliant analyst even described my point of view as a rant against the EMA. Others jumped to the defence of the EMA as though they were required at the rampart in defence of the EMA.”

Rowley noted: “The Sunday Guardian Editorial didn’t have enough of this misinformation to complete the column so they tossed in a query which states that I should have checked out industrialist Naveen Jindal before I visited India.”

“How about this possibility in logic? I travelled to India, spoke in generalities to groups of government officials and businessmen, telling them about the possibilities that exist for foreign investors to visit and consider investing in Trinidad and Tobago. This gospel was heard by Mr Jindal who was in South America at the time. After I returned he contacted us and agreed to visit as outlined in my speeches on my visit to India.”

“Could I really have done background checks on him before I visited India, even before I knew him or of him? Really?”

“Who ever said that the EMA should not exist or that the law should be circumvented or ignored?
Is it true that St Vincent does not care about their environment and that is why they got a Sandals project in record time?”

He went further to ask: “Is it anti-environment to be pro development?”

According to the PM, “This country needs some key development projects urgently and it is possible to accelerate the pace of these developments without destroying our environment.
It is called focus and common sense.”