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Imbert: CEPEP under review

Published: 
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Community Environmental Protection Programme (Cepep) is being reviewed by the Finance Ministry following a $75 million cut in funding for 2018.

On Monday night, Finance Minister Colm Imbert repeated that three times after UNC MP Suruj Rambachan pressed Government to say what is the status of the programme during the Parliament Standing Finance Committee's scrutiny of 2018 Budget items.

Rambachan said CEPEP received $400 million in 2017, but funding was cut by $75 million for 2018.

Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein, who said some trucking contracts had been cut, assured that his ministry's trucking services will be used to remove material from CEPEP jobs.

Imbert and Rambachan clashed after the Opposition MP accused Government of giving the Chaguanas Corporation less than Port-of-Spain although Chaguanas has more residents.

Imbert asked: "Do you want us to retrench Port-of-Spain Corporation workers?"

Rambachan replied: "You're putting words in my mouth. Government is taking a very biased approach to Chaguanas."

In response to Rambachan's query about Corporation workers "coming to work at 7 am and 9 am" and getting full pay, Hosein said he is determined to deal with low productivity.

Social Development Minister Cherrie-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn was asked by UNC's Barry Padarath about a special child grant, including for autistic children, after noting that his constituency has the highest number of children with cerebral palsy. She said the ministry is examining all grants and speaking with stakeholders but had not yet decided on such a grant.

On claims that some senior citizens didn't receive an increase due for 2017, Crichlow-Cockburn advised that they write the ministry.

She said 93,677 people had accessed the senior citizens' grant, 5,728 got public assistance and 23, 625 disability grants. She said that a Port-of-Spain street dweller centre will be built in the next three years and a temporary centre by year's end.