Trinidad to hold inquiry into $500M acquisition for highway


Cab­i­net will ini­ti­ate a com­mis­sion of en­quiry to ex­am­ine the cir­cum­stances in which over $500 mil­lion was paid to home­own­ers to ac­quire land for the ex­ten­sion of the high­way from San Fer­nan­do to Point Fortin. The an­nounce­ment was made by Min­is­ter of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty and Min­is­ter in the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter, Stu­art Young at yester­day’s post-Cab­i­net news con­fer­ence.

The com­mis­sion will be asked to de­ter­mine whether crim­i­nal or civ­il pro­ceed­ings should be brought against those in­volved, in­clud­ing a Cab­i­net com­mit­tee head­ed by for­mer prime min­is­ter Ka­mla Per­sad-Bisses­sar. Young told the me­dia that a re­port was re­quest­ed by the Min­istry of Works fol­low­ing a study it con­duct­ed in­to com­pen­sa­tion for the high­way ex­ten­sion project and found that while $800 mil­lion was al­lo­cat­ed for land ac­qui­si­tion, over $500 mil­lion had al­ready been spent.

Yet, he said, the process of land ac­qui­si­tion is not near com­ple­tion. Over 520 prop­er­ties were ac­quired and paid for by state and there are still 459 prop­er­ties to be ac­quired.(Trinidad Guardian)…[+]