Date: August 15th 2017
The attached letter was sent to the Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Planning and Development on August 7th 2017 and was copied to His Excellency, Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona O.R.T.T., S.C, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; the Honourable Dr Keith Rowley, Prime Minister; the Honourable Rohan Sinanan, Minister of Works and Transport; and Ms Nadra- NathaiGyan, Chairman of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA).
Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) is concerned that there has been an unlawful grant of the environmental approval for the construction of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway Extension from Wallerfield to Manzanilla (CEC 4952/2016) and is appealing to the Line Ministry and the EMA to address this serious and sensitive matter of a highway running alongside the last pristine boundary of the Aripo Savannas, an internationally renowned savanna with rich biodiversity. This biodiversity has earned this area the protected title of a designated Environmentally Sensitive Area and a Strict Nature and Scientific Reserve.
Without a long hard look of the serious environmental concerns stated by the EMA’s technical experts and stakeholders, this already approved highway will negatively affect and will potentially inflict irreversible ecological destruction on this resource.
FFOS welcomes all forms of development including the construction of proposed highways, but all development impacts must be scrutinized with technical eyes, must be mitigated according to the best science, the precautionary principle must be guiding, the long hard look must be applied, and most of all the public must be privy to all except trade secret information.
As a nation, we should be working towards sustainable development and we therefore need to balance economic growth and environmental conservation. There cannot be sustainable development if there is unexamined destruction of designated Environmentally Sensitive Areas in our country.
Sincerely, Gary Aboud Corporate Secretary – FFOS