Gunmen hinder road works in Diego Martin
JULIEN NEAVES Tuesday, August 13 2013
MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR works to repair roads in Diego Martin were hindered by gunmen, reported Works and Infrastructure Minister Surujrattan Rambachan yesterday.
He made the comments while delivering an address at the opening ceremony of the Diego Martin Layby Project and La Puerta Roadworks held alongside the Starlite Shopping Plaza.
He said that work on the La Puerta project was hindered by gunmen who intimidated the contractors and that only by the intervention of a resident was the situation “pacified”.
He noted that a similar situation occurred with work at the River Estate circular road area earlier this year and that Bagatelle/Blue Basin Councillor Lisa Maraj had to face off with gunmen and attempt to placate the situation.
“That is what contractors are facing in some of these areas,” he said.
He complimented Maraj for going beyond the call of duty as a councillor to ensure work was completed.
“We cannot continue as a society to have such lawlessness where people are prepared to work hard for the benefit of the society. Where people are prepared to contribute so others can enjoy a better quality of life and you have people who do not want to work hard but want to come with the barrel of a gun in order to gain income and make gains from those who are working hard,” he said.
“It is therefore incumbent that we do something to stop this kind of behaviour and protect the decent citizens of this country who are willing to work hard and contribute,” he added.
He has discussed the issue with National Security Minister Emmanuel George, who was present at the ceremony and noted that procedures would be put in place to protect contractors.
Also present yesterday was Diego Martin West MP and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, who expressed concern about the intimidation of contractors.
“And this is not new. What we have had is lawlessness and it is part of the general lawlessness that has taken place in the country. Persons are not to be allowed to use their law-breaking attributes to prevent the State from conducting lawful business on behalf of all the people in the district,” he told the media.
Chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation, Anthony Sammy, later told Newsday that in certain “hot spots” people did not want contractors coming from outside and would make monetary demands on them. He noted the councillors would have to go in and negotiate “peace treaties”.
In his address about the project, he said that the burgesses had often complained about the length of time to commute in and out of Diego Martin and that there was bumper-to-bumper traffic at peak periods where the layby was constructed. He expressed hope that the ministry would move “full steam ahead” with the other aspects of the Diego Martin Highway expansion project.
The total cost of the Diego Martin Layby is $5.6 million with the concrete and roadworks being done by Patrick Gordon’s Construction and the paving works by Jusamco Pavers Ltd. The total cost of the La Puerta Avenue Roadworks is $2.5 million with both the road rehabilitation works and the road reconstruction and drainage works being done by Seereeram Brothers Ltd.