PM: La Brea drydocking facility creating 5,000 jobs

Promising to bring jobs for re­trenched Petrotrin work­ers, Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley says the new dry­dock­ing fa­cil­i­ties to be built in La Brea will bring 5,000 jobs.

Speak­ing at the sign­ing cer­e­mo­ny of a co­op­er­a­tive agree­ment be­tween the Gov­ern­ment and Chi­na Har­bour En­gi­neer­ing Com­pa­ny Lim­it­ed for the con­struc­tion of a dry­dock­ing fa­cil­i­ty in La Brea, Row­ley said the fa­cil­i­ty will pro­vide job op­por­tu­ni­ties for skilled work­ers.

The PM said the fa­cil­i­ty will bring back busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ty to La Brea, Row­ley said once it comes on stream the project will grow the econ­o­my by sev­en percent. The fa­cil­i­ty will of­fer in­spec­tion, ship re­pairs and main­te­nance for ves­sels tra­vers­ing the West At­lantic.

Not­ing La Brea and San­gre Grande were the two ar­eas in Trinidad which were fur­thest back in terms of de­vel­op­ment, Row­ley said the fa­cil­i­ty will al­so pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for hous­ing, restau­rants and catering.

Speak­ing di­rect­ly to res­i­dents, Row­ley said T&T had lost valu­able busi­ness be­cause of the at­ti­tude of some La Brea res­i­dents who be­lieve "if they can't get one egg, they will mash up the hen house."

Urg­ing res­i­dents not to be la­belled as in­dus­tri­al mis­chief mak­ers, Row­ley said the project was in keep­ing with the Gov­ern­ment's Vi­sion 2030 pol­i­cy which in­cludes mar­itime di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion. He re­mind­ed the coun­try that the world did not owe T&T any­thing.

"We have to earn it by pro­vid­ing qual­i­ty ser­vice," he said, adding that T&T has al­ready lost sev­er­al in­dus­tries in­clud­ing sug­ar, co­coa, ba­nana, co­pra and cit­rus. He said the fa­cil­i­ty will have two bases so that two ves­sels could be dry­docked at the same time.

Row­ley did not give a cost of the project but said he hoped it will be fi­nanced by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment in a pub­lic/pri­vate part­ner­ship.

Na­tion­al In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Com­pa­ny Lim­it­ed chair­man Her­bert George said 13,000 ves­sels tra­verse the Pana­ma Canal an­nu­al­ly, adding that T&T could ben­e­fit from this mar­itime traf­fic.

Se­nior Busi­ness man­ag­er of Chi­na Har­bour En­gi­neer­ing Com­pa­ny Lim­it­ed, Rui Wang, de­scribed T&T as the gate­way to the Amer­i­c­as.

He said a mar­ket analy­sis study will be done in eight months and the con­struc­tion will be com­plet­ed in three years.

- by Radhica De Silva

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