Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development Trevor James –
FOR the second time in less than a year, the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries, and Urban Development (DIQUD) has accused the National Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco) of being “grossly disrespectful.”
The latest clash stems from Central Government’s plans to construct an 88-metre jetty at the Port of Scarborough.
In a press release on Monday, the DIQUD said the Chief Secretary was recently invited by engineering consultant CEP Ltd to attend a focus group meeting last Wednesday on the jetty plans. CEP Limited is the consultant, hired by the National Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco) on behalf of the Ministry of Works and Transport.
However, the division said these plans were drawn up and set in motion without any consultation with the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).
“The THA condemns this approach by the central government to the construction of the jetty extension, as it is not only grossly disrespectful but it also trespasses on area 16 of the 5th Schedule of the THA Act.
“The proposed construction flies in the face of not only principles of good governance, but also of the intentions of sections 31 and 37, which promote harmony in the affairs of Tobago and Trinidad,” the division said.
The division noted the THA has its own plans for the redevelopment of Scarborough, which include significant port development.
The THA’s plans were expressed in the lead up to the two THA elections in 2021, and public consultations were also held last year.
The division said a feasibility study is also nearing completion and attached its master plan for the project. It said discussions and collaboration on any jetty or port development would be well advised.
The division was also critical of the Ministry of Works and Transport, Nidco and CEP for submitting an application to the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) in October 2021 for approval to extend the jetty. It said the application and its acceptance were a clear contravention of the laws of TT.
The division added that “there was every opportunity since then for the ministry to initiate consultation but did not. This is a clear indication of the attitude with which the Government in Port of Spain views its relationship with the THA.
“We call on the central government to resist the temptation to arrogate to themselves the responsibilities of the THA and we also ask them to observe the law while embracing the core value of respect in these critical matters.”
In May last year, Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development Trevor James had criticised Nidco’s handling of the ANR Robinson International Airport expansion project and its plans for a marina at Friendship Estate.
James said no marina would be built there, instead proposing King’s Bay as an ideal location.
He said Nidco did not consult with the THA on either issues. He said, “All of Tobago should take stock. Your assembly is under attack. The rights that you fought for are being eroded and possibly understand that they were being facilitated by the previous administration. This administration would have none of that.”