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Two days before the by-election, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar emptied a bag of goodies for the people of Chaguanas West. She committed the Government to giving former Caroni workers a partial payment of $50 million. The PM said the former workers were “cheated” by the previous administration when they invested over $400 million in a “sweetener” loan.
Persad-Bissessar said, “Your Government has already approved the management fee payment of $6 million to offset all fees and return this money to the workers who paid for such services. “I will now commit our Government to paying $50 million to the former Caroni workers who invested on the promise of the PNM and were duped into putting their money in that plan. “This $50 million will be paid as partial payment to offset any payments that would have been due to the Caroni workers by way of interest received.”
She was speaking at yesterday’s United National Congress rally at Pierre Road Recreation Ground in Felicity. She said after seeing the neglect and squalor and hearing the plight of the community, her Government resolved to bring relief. She said the election was an undisguised blessing.
The PM said her Government proposed to return a significant portion of the 500 acres of prime agricultural land which was taken away by the People’s National Movement in 2006 for the development of a military base and which remained in abeyance for six years. She said Cabinet approved $48 million to finish developing the Felicity residential site where the Government expected to have over 700 lots for distribution later this year.
“This will benefit many of the former Caroni workers in Felicity and the surrounding areas. “We will also seek funding for the completion of the residential site nearby on the Caroni Savannah Road,” she said. She said a major complaint by the people of Felicity was healthcare. Given the availability of land in the area, Persad-Bissessar said she proposed to ask the Ministry of Health to construct a health centre in the Felicity area to service the western side of greater Chaguanas.
“So you the people of Pierre Road, Felicity, and surrounding areas will get your long-awaited health facilities. “We have identified a parcel of land on the Caroni Connector Road for this purpose. “This is the long-term development which my Government is known for.” She said in the last four weeks 20 roads were paved and steps have been taken to clean drains, construct bridges and agricultural access roads.
PM Kamla say... No to Warner joining PP
Persad-Bissessar said she listens, considers, evaluates and then makes decisions. And that it was in that context she accepted the resignation of former Cabinet minister Jack Warner. She said, “Maybe I was too forgiving before. “Maybe I was too understanding when the accusations and charges of alleged misdeeds were swirling incessantly.
“When the Opposition and other civil society groups, all with abundant self interests, but now ominously silent, were calling repeatedly and vociferously for his head, I stood with him. “We all stood with him. I chose not to respond to the persistent allegations and innuendoes.” She again denied she was controlled by a cabal as alleged by Warner who is now interim political leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP).
She said Warner was a friend whom she held in high regard, but she was saddened by the path he has chosen. “There is no doubt he helped rejuvenate our party at a critical juncture and played a central role in our march to government. “But those of us who actually lived the history know he was but one of many who stood up valiantly for our party.” She asked the crowd whether the initials of Warner’s party, ILP, was the ultimate Freudian slip “I Love Power.”
She said his resignation as UNC chairman was “a pure unadulterated act of vanity.” She said it came without warning and his explanations were deficient since he spoke about lack of constitutional reform and the right to recall. “It was a total unilateral decision.” She told supporters Warner slapped his constituents in their faces because he did not consult with them.
She said Warner’s validation for resigning has plunged T&T into a national distraction, but despite his departure, the PP will remain strong and resilient. Referring to Khadijah Ameen, the PM said she was of the firm view the party chose the best candidate. And as to whether Warner could join the PP, she said, “No. No. No. Absolutely no.”
• $50 million for ex-Caroni workers
• Land for rice cultivation
• 700 lots for distribution in Felicity and surrounding areas
• Health centre
• Completion of the Munroe Road Primary School
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