Prime Minister, the Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar
April 23, 2012:
Prime Minister, the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the opening of the interchange signaled Government’s determination to hold true to its vow to systematically develop Trinidad and Tobago at all levels, “be it economically, socially, culturally and indeed, infrastructurally.”
Persad-Bissessar reiterated that the People's Partnership Government was guided by the principle of putting people first.
“In all things, in all policy making, in all discussions and consultations, the people of our country must be placed at the forefront of our development thrust. If policy is not good for the people, then it’s not good for our country.”
Through continuing infrastructural development, the Prime Minister said her Government has every intention of ensuring that Trinidad and Tobago emerges as a nation that is hallmarked by sustainability, equity, social justice and economic liberty.
“We will all remember the bumper to bumper traffic congestion with a virtual sea of cars, trucks and buses streaming through all of our nation’s roadways which became a fixture of the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Especially for those who travel the north/south and the east/west route every day, life became one of sheer inconvenience, frustration and immense emotional and physical tension. I know what it has been like and I know that beyond the physical and emotional impact, there have also been the costs involved with vehicle maintenance, fuel and time lost from your jobs and businesses. And while I would readily state that this Interchange is not a total national solution, what I can say confidently is that we are well on our way to making life on our roadways easier and less frustrating. We will get there!” Persad-Bissessar assured.
She said the new Couva/Preysal Interchange would stand as a symbol of Government’s commitment to serve, deliver and implement “and to do so with precision in planning, clarity of policy and discipline in public spending.”
Persad-Bissessar explained that before her Government took office, it was extremely critical of the previous Government’s approach to infrastructure development.
She said its position was not to oppose the need for infrastructural development but rather ensuring there was carefully measured value for money spent and that development took place in a manner that would bring the greatest benefit, to the largest possible number of people, in a transparent manner.
“The last administration, as you would recall, was more urban-centric, focused on developing what was already largely developed, and to a great extent leaving behind the communities where help was most needed. My Government’s approach has been a more people-centric one, with needs-driven prioritization. Our concern was not centred on where was considered urban, rural or residential. No! We cared more to focus on where the development was needed most and how we could align our priorities with resources to achieve our full development mission,” Persad-Bissessar said.
As a result, she believed the new interchange would send a clear message that her Government shared the view that every citizen, whether urban, or rural, must share equally in the access and distribution of national resources.
Persad-Bissessar noted that the Couva/Preysal area is home to many households, and also many small family businesses which can expand with the right opportunities.
“The Couva/Preysal area is also home to the sugar industry which once provided immense support to our economy in the decades gone by and which, through the labour of the people who worked in that industry, produced some of our nation’s most achieving professionals. The Couva/Point Lisas area is also home to the Point Lisas Industrial Estate which hosts some of our largest industrial companies that employ thousands of people.
It is safe then to say that this part of our country has been born out of a deep sense of determination to build and succeed, and has grown with a strong drive to achieve,” Persad-Bissessar noted.
Therefore, she said providing appropriate infrastructure for this “very important” section of the national community through ease of transport, accessible exits, rehabilitated and reinforced roads and proper lighting, Government has removed many of the obstacles which lay in the way of efficient transport, business expansion, enhanced real estate values and a much better quality of life.
“This is why the engineering of this interchange has been so comprehensive and has anticipated the spatial and safety needs of the family built vehicle, the mid-range transport vehicle as well as the large tray and trailer vehicles. I make these points to emphasize my Government’s approach as being systematic, strategic, disciplined and people-centred,” Persad-Bissessar said.
She also announced the construction of additional interchanges, which will include the “twelve interchanges along the Golconda to Point Fortin Highway.”
She said the interchange project was only part of the bigger picture which would assist in further eradicating traffic woes in the nation.
At the opening ceremony, Persad-Bissessar also commended the efforts of local contractors - Super Industrial Services Ltd (SIS Ltd) and Seereeram Bros Ltd.
“There was a time before the People’s Partnership that our local contractors were perceived as lacking the essential skills and capabilities to deliver projects of this nature. There was a time before the People’s Partnership when local contractors were on the media protesting what appeared to them to be a crime to be ‘local’. The widespread belief was that the major projects were automatically channelled to foreign companies and many local businesses were strangled into bankruptcy? We set out to change that, and we have!” the Prime Minister said.
She also attributed the interchange opening to the “great strength” of the local construction and engineering industry, which she said would become the “hallmark” of her Government.
For the full speech click the following link: http://www.news.gov.tt/index.php?news=10680