NIDCO: Point residents get highway jobs
By Cecily Asson Wednesday, August 6 2014
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PROTEST: A Marabella resident holds up an unidentified child on his shoulder as they protested in front of Petrotrin's Administrate Building at Pointe...
As residents of Point Fortin and environs take their protest action for jobs and crop compensation into its third day today, chairman of National Infrastructure Development Company (NIDCO), the agency responsible for construction of the billion dollar Golconda to Point Fortin highway project, has strongly denied reports that members of their community are not being employed.
“The talk of people in the area not working is absolute garbage,” Charles told Newsday when contacted about reasons given for continued protest by residents. “That is one thing I can defend OAS (contractors) on. I have proof that there are villagers working there. What we have is people wanting various things and some of them are trying to shake down the contractors.”
For the past two days, angry villagers in Vance River, Cochrane and environs have blocked roads and lit fires to protest high unemployment.
According to the residents, workmen on the site all hail from Arima.
Residents are also clamouring for compensation for crops which were bulldozed to make way for the highway. The action of residents have so far halted work on the highway project in the area.
Charles who said he has been dealing with a number of issues in that area “for a while” told Newsday he has spoken to Members of Parliament Fitzgerald Jeffrey ( La Brea) and Paula Gopee-Scoon (Point Fortin) in an attempt “to get the co-operation on a number of things”.
He has also called on the MPs “to talk to their people and sort out whatever issues they have.”
According to Charles, he has in his possession a list of names of over “350 something people” of the community employed on the highway” which passes close to Vance River and Cochrane villages in Guapo.
As for compensation for damaged crops, Charles noted the exercise is a “routine thing,” and went on to assure those affected that they will be compensated. Charles leaves today on a family vacation and is expected to be out of the country for the next two weeks.
Residents began protest action on Monday and it continued yesterday. Spokesperson for protesting villagers Brendon Daniel has promised that action will continue once their needs are not met.
Daniel said, “Our people are not getting work on the highway project or being compensated for their damaged crops. For the first time we are getting floods.”
He added, “With the heavy rains, three villages flood, Vance River, Cochrane and Gonzales and we never flood before.”