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posted 18 Feb 2013, 10:22 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 18 Feb 2013, 10:29 ]
The Federation of Independent Trade Unions and Non Governmental Organisations, FITUN would like to publicly condemn the obscene political spin that the Minister of Works, Mr. Emmanuel George, has attempted to engage in with respect to the Report of the Independent Review Committee that was set up to look at the contentious issues surrounding the Debe to Mon Desir Link of the Highway to Point Fortin.

As one of the recognised and prominent civil society organisations that joined with the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) in averting the grave political fall-out from the extended Hunger Strike by Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh, we feel compelled to say to the public that the Minister was very economical with the truth when he stated that the Highway Review Committee gave the go ahead for the Debe to Mon Desir Link of the Highway. From the Report that we have read, it is pellucidly clear that there was never any statement by the Committee to that effect.

FITUN would also like to condemn the Minister and by extension the Government for committing a grave breach of trust. We recall that there was an understanding by all parties involved in the process that the Report would be first submitted to NIDCO for its attention and parties were to refrain from making any public statements on the contents of the Report before it was published by the JCC. As far as FITUN is concerned, all other parties held firm to their side of the agreement with the exception of the Government. What is of even more concern to FITUN is that this attempt to mislead the population was done immediately after a Cabinet Meeting at a Post Cabinet Press Conference. That suggests to us that the Minister’s statement was a representation of the views of the entire Cabinet. This is very disturbing in light of the commitment that was made by parties concerned in the matter.

What has FITUN even more disturbed is the fact that there is ongoing communication between the JCC and NIDCO to sort out some procedural issues with respect to the Report and as such the JCC has agreed to withhold publication of the Report until there is satisfaction that these issues are addressed. We question the Minister’s intent and wish to state that the Report does not contain any statement to the effect that the Committee has given the “Go Ahead” for the Debe to Mon Desir Link of the San Fernando to Point Fortin Highway.

We thought that after all the previous governance blunders, that on such an important issue as the Highway Reroute Review Committee Report, that the Government would have at least learnt its lesson. But it seems that once again, the Government has destroyed whatever remnants of trust that the population has left for them after a series of missteps and apparent acts of deception.

FITUN as one of the interest groups that got involved in averting the fallout from the Hunger Strike would not stand idly by and allow the righteous stance of Civil Society Organisations to be compromised. We would also not allow the professional integrity of those who tirelessly worked through two (2) festive seasons in the country to engage in an act that we consider to be commendable and courageous, to be compromised for political grand standing by a Government that has lost the goodwill of the population.

Joseph Remy