Date: January 13th 2018
On Monday 8th January, 2018, heavy earth works machinery including several bulldozers, excavators and road preparation equipment have arrived at the Southern Boundary of the Aripo Savannas and have commenced works contrary to our understanding of the verbal assurances which were given before the Court in which Justice Ramcharan presided. See pictures and videos attached.
Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) consider it dishonourable and underhanded for NIDCO to have commenced works without notice to us or to the Court, knowing that the matter of the date of commencement of works had been discussed in Court and in correspondence with the Attorneys of the Ministry of the Works and Transport (MOWT) and FFOS and the JSO.
FFOS are concerned that this Environmental Management Authority (EMA) designated Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) contains rare, endemic, threatened and environmentally sensitive species which may be at risk due to the commencement of highway works from Cumuto to Sangre Grande. We are of the view that whilst the process by which the EMA granted the CEC to the MOWT is before the Court, no work should be undertaken in this fragile and sensitive ecological area as the damage being done to the flora and fauna in the area cannot be reversed should it be found that the necessary approvals were obtained through a flawed process.
FFOS continues to advocate for sustainable development on behalf of voiceless communities such as this one and we call upon all citizens to reject this move by the MOWT/NIDCO to steal a march against persons seeking to preserve our prized environmental heritage. FFOS respectfully call upon the Government to act responsibly, to do the right thing and to immediately cease and desist from all or any further related works until the Court can fully ventilate the matter commenced in the public interest by FFOS.
Video on construction works: