Highway Reroute Movement (HRM) leader Wayne Kublalsingh on Monday said Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan is slandering his organisation’s name.
The HRM is a group of concerned citizens who are challenging the Government to reroute a small part of the Debe to Mon Desir section of the Solomon Hochoy Highway.
Dr Kublalsingh says the ministry is spreading false information over the restart of work on the Debe to Mon Desir highway.
On Sunday, at a press conference Sinanan rejected Kublalsingh's claim that work had resumed on the highway.
In a release, Kublalsingh said, “This statement slanders, in our view, the integrity, good name and works of the Highway Reroute Movement.
“We are a fact-based organisation acting in the public interest and rely on accurate fact-based information to win and secure our credibility.”
Kublalsingh said when members visited the site on December 13, the HRM took several pictures. He said the HRM also taped the activities and presented the evidence at a press conference on December 18.
“They were presented also on social media. Such comments made by the minister greatly harm our public advocacy cause, which distorts public perception of us, besmirches our identity, and scars the integrity of our public-interest work.
“We have written to the media requesting that they now publish the photos and videos showing works at Roots Avenue and works behind the Pepper Village Government Primary School.
"This area is part of the Mon Desir to Fyzabad segment of the Debe to Mon Desir highway. They show works in the impugned segment of highway.”
Kublalsingh said the HRM would also write to the Prime Minister and Sinanan as minister, asking for a public apology for damaging the good name of the HRM.
In an interview, after asking for and reading Kublalsingh’s release, Sinanan said the government is concentrating on the package it has out for from San Fernando to Point Fortin stretch of the highway.
He said there is certain work the government is obligated to do based on a ruling of theCourt of Arbitration in London. In 2016, the main contractor, the Brazilian company Construtora OAS, whose contract had been terminated and which had filed for "judicial reorganisation" in Brazil, was ordered to pay $921 million to the National Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco).
“Those works were under the contract with OAS. We have to, by law, complete and protect the infrastructure. That is what we are doing at this stage.
“To reiterate, what we are doing is from San Fernando to Point Fortin, and the works we are contracted to do under the law, the Court of Arbitration, where we were able to recover $940 million to complete the concrete work OAS was contracted to do."
Sinanan said the work being done will protect the Oropouche River Bridge's infrastructure.