The Kolektif Sov Promenade Roland Armand and the government have not made any headway in talks hosted at the prime Minister’s Office on Thursday. “It looked like they had already made up their minds about what to do even before the meeting started and they refused to concede anything,” said Selven Govinden, one of those representing the Kolektif at the meeting.
The meeting, that lasted one hour and 43 minutes, was not attended by the prime minister, Pravind Jugnauth, nor did any member of the cabinet attend. Instead, the government side was represented by officials from Metro Express Limited. According to Govinden, the officials refused to see a video produced by the Kolektiv proposing an alternate route through the Rose Hill and Beau Bassin area that would not entail the felling of the 134 trees and the destruction of the promenade Roland Armand at Vandeermesch. “We brought that video just as a possibility to consider that would have led to a win-win situation, where we would have the metro as well as save the trees,” Govinden said of the meeting, “but they simply refused to consider it; in other words, although the atmosphere was positive, we cannot deny that nothing came out of it.”
The Kolektif – that groups together organisations such as Freeart, Lavwa 270 as well as residents in the area opposed to the destruction of the promenade to make way for the Metro attempted to hold a gathering at the beginning of the week but were dispersed by the police. The meeting attracted support from the former president of the Republic, Cassam Uteem, the former candidate of the Mouvement Patriotique, Tania Diolle, as well as unionist Jack Bizlall. The Metro Express, which is expected to be completed in two phases, eventually linking Curepipe to Port Louis, has been described by the government as its ‘flagship project’. In August last year, the government awarded the contract to build the Metro project to Indian firm Larsen & Toubro Ltd.