The trinidad Guardian / Former transport minister Devant Maharaj has written the Integrity Commission calling for an investigation into the process by which the Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) for the Manzanilla highway was approved by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA).
In a letter to the Integrity Commission’s chairman Justice Zainool Hosein dated November 1, Maharaj claimed “the process for the CEC appears to be severely compromised and or short-circuited for reasons unknown”.
“It appears to be a breakdown in terms of following proper established procedures to treat with the concerns of the technocrats of the EMA,” he stated.
Maharaj said it appears that the “entire process was rushed through the system despite the objections of the EMA technocrats”.
“As such the entire board of the EMA is in breach of the Integrity in Public Life Act and should be held accountable for the said breach if foudn to be true and correct,” Maharaj stated.
Maharaj also wrote the chairman of the the Parliament Joint Select Committee (JSC) on Land and Physical Infrastructure Independent Senator Stephen Creese on the same day requesting an investigation.
Maharaj claimed that the dismissal of Charmaine Lewis as the general manager of the Port Authority earlier this year following JSC has caused whistle-blowers at the EMA to become reluctant to come forward with their concerns about CEC.
Lewis was fired in October, weeks after appearing before the JSC chaired by Creese during its probe into the sea bridge.
Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said there was no political hand in Lewis’ dismissal
During the sod turning ceremony in September, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced that Kallco was awarded a $400 million contract to construct the first segment of the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway extension to Manzanilla.
The highway extension is scheduled to be built in three phases.
The CEC for the project was granted on June 22.
Maharaj said it appeared as though the entire process was “rushed through the system despite the objections of the EMA technocrats”.