There should be no argument over the absolute need to have the landslip on the Naparima-Mayaro Road (NMR) at Robert Village in Tableland repaired with urgency. This road is the only direct access to Rio Claro and Mayaro from San Fernando, if you don’t want to take a troublesome detour through Torrib Trace. In a sense, the NMR gives easy access to the oil-producing region on the East Coast if coming from the South of the island. This should be good reason to fix the road.
The landslip problem at Robert Village is not new. Indeed, that section of the Naparima-Mayaro Road from Robert Village Trace to Poole River Bridge had been an engineer’s nightmare from since the days when Adjodhasingh and Victor Campbell were Ministers of Works under different administrations. In fact, during 1960s the NMR from Nohar Trace to about half a mile east to the Poole River Bridge was diverted because of landslips. Major works were done between Bikaroo Trace and Nohar Trace thereafter for the same reason. But this did not stop the land from slipping further.
The Ministry of Works has smart engineers who can find engineering solutions to stabilise unstable lands. They did it at Mt Stewart Village; the Guaico Tamana Road in the vicinity of Monceaux Estate and several other troublesome spots across the country.
I am aware that Razack Ali and Winston “Gypsy” Peters, both former Ortoire/Mayaro MPs, along with Dr Reeza Mohammed, former Princes Town MP, jointly made requests for the rehabilitation of that section of the NMR at Robert Village without success. This was when the United National Congress was in office (1995-2001); and thereafter when the PNM was in office (2001-2010).
The late former UNC Moruga/Tableland MP Clifton De Coteau and former Princes Town MP Nela Khan (2010 – 2015) had jointly approached their colleague, Works Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan, for relief, but again without success. And that was when the oil price was above US$100 a barrel.
Princes Town MP Barry Padarath and De Coteau renewed the call during the People’s National Movement tenure (2015 – 2020). The response was the stabilisation of one landslip near Robert Village Trace. That landslip has deteriorated since.
I really have no problem when citizens use protest action to draw attention to matters that affect them. But what is annoying is when politicians act as if the problem is entirely new and they were innocent bystanders all along. MPs Rushton Paray and Michelle Benjamin should find out why Minister Rambachan failed to rehabilitate that section of the NMR at Robert Village, which straddles two UNC constituencies, when money was no problem.
And, Michelle, try some humility when making requests. Works Minister Rohan Sinanan has a reasonable and fair persona; why bully him? Nobody really responds to bad johns; they are usually left out in the cold.