Camp La Romaine which is expected to be finished next month.

With the relaxation of the stay-at-home restrictions, work at Camp La Romaine is now back on track and expected to be completed next month. NIPDEC general manager Raymond Hackett said yesterday that the $22.2 million project was delayed due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

This project is part of the Government’s efforts to enhance border security and Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) infrastructure, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds had said during a passing out parade for members of the Regiment, Air Guard and Coast Guard at Teteron Barracks, Chaguaramas, in May.

In addition, he said two companies of the Second Infantry Battalion of the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment (TTR) were to be relocated from the Heliport, Chaguaramas, to Camp La Romaine.

According to NIPDEC’s website, the project involves the design and construction of five buildings with a standby power supply and the construction of a wastewater treatment plant.

The facility will provide accommodation for 192 regiment personnel and includes dormitories, a laundry facility, meeting and recreational spaces. At the sod-turning ceremony in November 2019, the then minister said soldiers would have been relocated at the end of May.

Responding to questions via Whatsapp yesterday, Hackett said the project’s completion date is now August 18.

“There was some delay due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions and it would have started back only this week. But it is largely complete, it is physically complete, all the equipment is in, so it’s really just the approvals WASA, T&TEC and so on that is being done now.”

He could not say whether the soldiers had been relocated to the La Romaine base.

Attempts to reach Chief of Defence Staff Darryl Daniel were unsuccessful, while up to press time there was no response from the regiment’s public relations officer Captain Cleavon Dillon on the matter.

Hinds had also spoken about the purchase of two Cape Class patrol vessels to strengthen the capacity and capability of the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG). The vessels arrived on Tuesday.

Hinds also said that one of the AW 139 helicopters will be reintegrated back into service to provide essential air surveillance support to the Coast Guard.

These initiatives came in the backdrop of heavy criticism of the Government, particularly during the 16 months of the pandemic, over porous borders contributing to the rise of COVID-19 infections, allegedly due to illegal immigrants entering the country.

Hinds could not be reached for comment yesterday.