Kazim Hosein

Sod-turning ceremony: Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein, from right, Works Minister Rohan Sinanan, San Fernando West MP Faris Al-Rawi and chief executive of Coosal’s Construction Company Ltd Sieunarine Coosal do an “elbow bounce” following the sod-turning ceremony yesterday for the Lady Hailes Avenue widening project — phase one of the San Fernando Waterfront Redevelopment Project. Looking on is San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello. —Photo: TREVOR WATSON

Within months of a general election, the Government has launched a billion-dollar project in San Fernando, promising employment and a better standard of living for the next five years.

Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan says commencement of the San Fernando Waterfront Redevelopment Project will see a construction boom for the next five years and an increase in employment and business activity.

And this is no election mamaguy, Sinanan said, as contracts have been awarded to begin work immediately.

Sinanan was speaking yesterday at the sod-turning ceremony for phase one of the San Fernando Waterfront Redevelopment Project — Lady Hailes Avenue widening project.

The ceremony was attended by San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello, San Fernando West MP Faris Al-Rawi and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein.

Sinanan said: “When we leave here today we will have contractors on the site. Each one of these projects will have hundreds of employees. I can see going forward, for at least the next five years, a construction boom in San Fernando based on this waterfront project.”

Sinanan said, however, the sod-turning ceremony was no election gimmick. He said the start of the billion-dollar in an election year was not to “create an impression” in San Fernando but to deliver what was promised in the Government’s 2015 manifesto.

“After so long people will give up on hope. They feel it is just politicians talking.

“But San Fernando, this is your thing. The Government has identified that San Fernando has been lacking and we decided to do something about it,” he said.

According to Sinanan, the ministry’s PURE and coastal division have been working on road infrastructure for the past two years.

He said the new Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) terminal in San Fernando was 90 per cent completed. The move, he said, is expected to take place next month and this will make way for a new housing development along Lady Hailes Avenue.

The first phase will include the Rienzi Kirton pedestrian overpass near Embacadere, a boardwalk and bicycle path along King’s Wharf and the Lady Hailes widening project.

Sinanan said the ministry was also moving to complete the Moruga Fishing Port, Toco Port, Valencia to Toco Highway, port at Galeota Point and the San Fernando to Point Fortin Highway.

‘Political game’ 

As the minister spoke, a small group of fishermen and residents gathered outside the venue in disagreement.

Fisherman Dhanraj Ramkissoon said: “While the project is going on, where Mr Rowley will have the people living? Will they be living in the area or out? I have been to many consultation meetings. The last talk with UDeCOTT told us it will have a finalised consultation. Where they want to put the fishermen? We don’t want to go to Hatters panyard.”

Ramkissoon said the proposed location for fishermen was not suitable and he called on the minister to meet fishermen to discuss their concerns.

“We don’t want to leave the waterfront. We are in the heart of the city, we asking that they develop the market and leave it right where it is,” he said.

Ramkissoon said the Government was turning the San Fernando Waterfront Project into a “political game”.

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