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Saturday 18 November 2017
Local

FFOS challenges EMA ruling

HAND SMEARED: Head of Fishermen and Friends of the Sea, environmentalist Gary Aboud shows the after effects of an oil spill near the Crews Inn marina at Chaguaramas over the weekend.

Environmental watchdog group Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) is questioning the Environmental Management Authority’s (EMA) motives in granting a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) for the Cumuto to Sangre Grande portion of the proposed Toco Highway.

Addressing questions surrounding the highway’s construction and tendering process for selecting the contractor, FFOS president Gary Aboud called for transparency and accountability.

Aboud said while he is not necessarily opposed to the construction, he would like government’s assurance that the rule of law is being adhered to.

“FFOS emphasise that it has made no judicial objection to the very conception of the proposed highway but is merely questioning the process employed by the EMA to grant this CEC.

We are concerned with adherence to the rule of law and we hope our judicial challenge is not perceived as an attack on the developmental aspirations of the citizens of Toco.”

Aboud questioned whether constructing the highway is wise, financially, given current economic challenges in the form of falling oil and gas prices.

Citing the incomplete National Oncology Centre, Aboud said government’s time and resources would be best directed elsewhere.

“Based on collapsed energy revenue streams, national economic failures, alleged nepotism in awarding contracts and often poorly conceived, unnecessary or duplicated infrastructural needs, FFOS is appealing to Dr Keith Rowley to save this country from the pitfall of improper national planning of, ‘let us go and do this and let us go and do that’, without a long, hard, wise and measured look.

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