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Minister Rambachan New Year Message

We have come to the end of what many will describe as a Challenging  year, however in the midst of all the criticisms and anger of the population (including our supporters) over the last week at least three editorials appeared that were very favourable to the Government but particularly so to the Honourable Prime Minister.  Let us not also forget the democracy award presented to the Prime Minister which award was also presented to Mandela.  Personally I do not think that even as Ministers and MP’s we have fully grasp the importance of that award.  The time will come when history will record when we were all part of a Government in which the Prime Minister adhered to the highest Principles consistent with the functioning democracy.

In 2013 we have also achieved and we should not underestimate this.  In every ministry there is physical evidence which shows our commitment to citizens and the nation.  The opening of the El Dorado nursing academy, the completion of the Uriah Butler Interchange, the Golcunda to Debe, the start of the Couva Children’s Hospital, Start of the Valencia By Pass,  the Preysal Interchange, Opening of a number of schools, the teaching hospital in San Fernando, Handing out of leases of Caroni workers, reduction in Poverty Rate, Settling of close to 70 Labour agreements, Reduction in Waiting time to form a company, the swift Clearance of containers at the port this Christmas are all achievements which Ministers and the Government can stand proud.  By no means is this an exhausted list.

While the murder rate may have increased the facts do show a significant 30% reduction in serious crimes as well as the decline in road fatalities.  We have done better. We need to convince ourselves of that.  For when we convince ourselves we will convince the citizenry.   This year the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure has proposed to make a big difference in the Country in Infrastructure.  Under our PURE Programme we shall continue the hundred and ninety three projects utilizing our budgetary allocation of 217 million.   These projects have been approved by the Honourable Prime Minister and have been tendered out through NIPDEC.   Our second phase of projects utilizing part of the recently issued bonds is now before the Prime Minister for approval.  Before the end of 2014 both the extended Diego Martin Highway and the Valencia By-pass will be completed.  Several segments of the Highway to Point Fortin will also be completed.  As my colleagues will be aware that we have had serious challenges with respect to landslips throughout the country, some of these are major including the one that threatens the cemetery at Iere Village and where the graves have been exposed.  This will be attended to as funds are made available.

Colleagues would have been very happy with the numerous projects being done through the URP programme.  I am acutely aware of the numerous requests by my colleagues for an increase in teams of workers.  I also know that sometimes my colleagues get upset because it appears that they are not getting a favourable response.  I ask you to have patience and work with me so that everyone can have a share of the pie.  In closing and as I look forward to another year of service delivery and achievement, I wish to thank all of my colleagues for their support and encouragement but particularly the Honourable Prime Minister for the opportunity she has given me to use my skills, training and potential in the realisation of my personal goals and in service to the Community.  It is  because of where she has placed me first as Minister of Foreign Affairs, then Minister of Local Government and now as Minister of Works and Infrastructure I have carved a niche (if I may say so) as a Minister.  As Minister of Foreign Affairs I was appointed Chairman of CMAG with the support of the Prime Minister and that of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Australia and UK.  In addition I was given Chile’s highest award to a non-national. I also had the opportunity to address the UN with the permission and encouragement of the Honourable Prime Minister.  Finally as Minister of Local Government I became a Member of the Board of CLGF.

I now look forward with great anticipation to the next 17 months and pledge to be part of a team, a partnership which despite its challenges have served the country in good stead.  May God bless the Prime Minister and all my Colleagues, May he give everyone the strength and wisdom to fulfill our collective wisdom for a better Trinidad and Tobago.  Happy New Year


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