MORUGA/TABLELAND MP Michelle Benjamin caused chuckles in the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives on Friday when she reported that her constituents had been involved in fiery protests, her account coming soon after the posting online of a video of her seemingly negotiating with the police to allow a tyre to be placed on a road barricade.
She used the occasion to ask Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan for an undertaking to address the network of roads and bridges in areas of her constituency.
Sinanan replied that the area's allocation had been doubled in recent years. He said, "In Moruga I have spent close to a quarter billion dollars. If we spent like that no other Opposition MP will get their roads fixed. No other road will get fixed."
Benjamin begged help to fix Edward Trace bridge in her constituency, saying at present some 75 farmers cannot get their produce out to market. She said many roads were in a deplorable state, and Tableland pineapple farmers need access roads.
Sinanan replied that along one road in the constituency the number of landslips had recently worsened from 21 to 48. It is an area of constant land movement. It is prone to landslips."
He said he may have to consider building totally new roads in place of existing ones under threat.
Sinanan said climate change has led to soil in areas of that constituency now being saturated with water, leading to current woes.
"I'm a bit taken aback at the protests," he said.
Sinanan said that considering all the roads he needed to pave nationwide he wished he had a budget of $90 billion, rather than just $9 million.
In another line item, Oropouche West MP Davendranath Tancoo asked why the budget had no allocation to build the proposed La Brea Dry Dock, but Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George in the chair ruled that as there was no allocation the item could not be debated. The Opposition did not support the budget which the committee approved late Friday.