PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Prime Minister Patrick Manning on Wednesday expressed optimism that the global economic and financial crisis is now levelling off and predicted renewed economic growth for his oil-rich twin island republic.
Speaking at the sod-turning ceremony of a power plant being built to fuel the controversial Alutrint aluminium smelter plant on the Union Industrial Estate at la Brea, south of here, Manning said that all the strategies outlined by his government to deal with the global crisis may not now be necessary.
?We are already moving at an impressive pace. However, my dear friends, with a downturn in the world economy we experienced reduced momentum at the start of 2009.
?We made the appropriate adjustments and are prepared to do further re-ordering, but it is becoming clear to us that that will not be necessary. Already there positive signs on the horizon and the forecast is for an earlier end to global recessionary trends than originally expected.?
Manning said that demand had increased worldwide and this was already being reflected in the price of oil which has moved from a low of US$40 a barrel to as high as US$71 on Wednesday.
?We are of the view that this global growth will continue, albeit at a more realistic pace and that the earning capacities of countries and companies will either stabilise or improve as we go forward?.
Manning?s attendance at the ceremony coincided with ongoing demonstrations by residents over the construction of the Chinese-funded smelter plant and the inadequate re-location for persons living in the area.
The protestors were unsuccessful in getting Manning?s attention and expressed disappointment that the Prime Minister had failed to meet with them to discuss their concerns.
Earlier this week, Housing Minister Emily Gaynor Dick-Ford said that cancer tests would be conducted on residents in the area.
?Monitoring includes personal and family history for allergies, asthma, liver conditions, skin conditions and cardiovascular issues, clinical chemical analysis, urine for fluoride, vital signs and history of bronchitis,? she said.
The minister said there would also be other tests based on discussions with the physicians, while assuring residents that ?all of this information will remain confidential?.
Manning told the ceremony that the highest standard of health safety and environmental practices would be carried out in the new industrial zone and that the power plant would help provide electricity to a number of new industries to be constructed in the southern area.
?The tremendous new wave of industrial activity that will be generated in this country as we go forward without it our development plans for the country will not be possible and herein lies the importance of the project that we start today.
?It is part of the plan for the substantial expansion of power generation in our country,? he said, noting that the government had agreed to increase power generation capacity by building new plants and upgrading existing facilities ?which on completion will have a total installed capacity of 1,440 megawatts?.