Port-of-Spain Deputy Mayor Councillor Hillan Morean, left, and Councillor Wendell Stephen, listen to Port-of-Spain Mayor Joel Martinez, after the Port-of-Spain statutory meeting yesterday held at City Hall.

The Port-of-Spain City Corporation has joined the list of donors providing devices for underprivileged students to allow them access to online classes. At the corporation’s statutory meeting on Wednesday, Mayor Joel Martinez said the corporation had purchased 144 tablets for children in the Port-of-Spain district.

“We had approved $150,000, we are supposed to get 144 out of it. I believe we will get some this afternoon, about 65 and we still have some to get. What the objective is, is to be able to help the students,” Martinez said.

He said the funding for the devices came from the corporation’s COVID-19 budget and its unspent balances.

He said the donation was important as it provides students with the opportunity to access the Ministry of Education’s online teaching platforms.

Martinez said the 16 members of the council will also receive laptops and printers soon as approximately $200,000 has been allocated for the purchase.

He said the councillors were supposed to be provided with phones, laptops and printers since they were sworn into office last year but the expenses were not approved.

Martinez said there was an outcry from the councillors at the August statutory meeting as they say they were unable to do their jobs without the devices.

He said the corporation building in Port-of-Spain was not set up for virtual meetings and the new Public Health Guidelines put in place to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus made the devices a necessity.

“So it’s a difficult time for us however with the approval of the machines I am sure that the council will be better able to be informed. It is not just statutory meetings we have here every month, we have committee meetings, subcommittee meetings, we have a lot of meetings going on throughout the month and this will enable the council to really be able to perform at an optimum level,” Martinez said.