Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan has instructed that planned road works on the Uriah Butler Highway this weekend be suspended so that the United National Congress (UNC) motorcade can proceed without hindrance.
The move came in the face of Tabaquite MP Suruj Rambachan condemning the People’s National Movement (PNM) for using tactics in the form of the road works to hamper the UNC’s nationwide motorcade and rally carded for today.
Confident of an election victory come Monday, Sinanan told the Express that he does not want the UNC to use any excuse for the election defeat they will face as he warned that the Opposition party should “brace for blows”.
Rambachan issued a release yesterday taking issue with a public notice from the Ministry of Works stating that there will be traffic disruption to accommodate road works on both the northbound and southbound lanes of the Uriah Butler Highway from 7 a.m. Saturday to 7 p.m. Sunday.
The Ministry had advised that a minimum of two lanes of traffic will remain open to motorists in both the northbound and southbound direction along the UBH at all times.
These road works would have resulted in a traffic nightmare for motorists.
Rambachan charged it was a “blatant attempt” by the People’s National Movement (PNM) to disrupt the very effective campaign that has so far been mounted by the UNC for Monday’s local government election.
“The fact that they have scheduled construction works on both Saturday and Sunday is an attempt to disrupt and frustrate the several motorcades of the UNC that will be crossing the Uriah Butler Highway between North and South. This behaviour of the PNM must be condemned in the harshest of terms. However it will not stop the UNC from enjoying the victory which is being fashioned for December 2nd,” stated Rambachan.
UNC licking booked
The Express forwarded Rambachan’s release to Sinanan and the Minister said he immediately picked up the phone and called Rambachan to enquire what was this about.
The Minister said he also forwarded the release to the Director of Highways who advised him that the highway works had actually started three weeks ago and for the past weekends works were conducted and were ongoing.
“I don’t think to win the election we have to do anything to the UNC, the UNC would have done enough to let the population understand that they are not fit to govern,” he said.
He said Rambachan’s comments were unfortunate because the Ministry’s road and bridges programme was planned weeks ago whilst the UNC only decided this week to have its rally in Chaguanas.
A few minutes later the Minister contacted the Express to advise that the road works will be suspended.
“I have asked them if they can suspend this weekend so that the Opposition does not have an excuse when the results come out on Monday night. I do not want the UNC to have any excuse, they must just accept the defeat, the licking that they will get and deal with it,” he said,
Contacted for comment last night, Rambachan told the Express he was happy that good sense prevailed but maintained it was a strategy by the PNM to cause disruption.
“What has happened, the PNM has not gotten the kind of traction that they thought they would get in this election because the electorate is showing its dissatisfaction and the people are disappointed that after four years and $200 billion spent their lives have not improved, the economy is flat, crime is rampant— home invasions in particular— and the PNM doesn’t have a leg to stand on so they are trying everything to demonise the ground campaign of the UNC which has deep roots,” he said.
The UNC is carded to have a nationwide motorcade today from 10 a.m. At 5 p.m. the party will have a “Trailer rally” at the Centre Point Mall parking lot where Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar will deliver an address.
The UNC also has a line up of entertainers for the event including Rakesh Yankaran, Adesh Samaroo, Squeezy Rankin, Crazy, Dubraj Persad and more.
The PNM’s “red rally” will take place at the Jean Pierre Complex, Port of Spain from 1 p.m. where prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley will deliver the feature address.
A musical line up is also in place which includes Benjai, Iwer George, Blaxx, Olatunji and others.
The Local Government election will take place on Monday and the results are to be announced by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) on Monday night barring any hiccup.