Opposition Senator Anil Roberts has raised questions about the Government’s plans to revitalise the capital city through the Spotlight Initiative On the Rejuvenation of the City Project.
On Monday the Prime Minister announced plans for East Port-of -Spain, the 17th such attempt to reinvigorate that land space.
The project is being handled by Udecott.
However, the Opposition Senator questioned the process of acquiring the lands to allow the project to go forward while addressing the private motion regarding the reform of the Service Commissions raised by independent Senator Anthony Viera
“The power of the public service has been ceded to special purpose companies like Udecott, so in a proper endorsed and resourced service commission or public service this document, these documents, this decision would have been handled independently by public servants so that any question of impropriety and political interference would not exist but here it is,” said Senator Roberts, who waved a document while he spoke, which he claimed detailed the acquisition of land in Piccadilly, Laventille.
“The politicians are telling us that they are coming to consult about Piccadilly and I have a document here from the political arm a special purpose company that Piccadilly in Laventille have been sold out,” he said.
Roberts suggested that the acquisition would force residents and businesses currently established in the area to leave without justified compensation.
The Opposition Senator then quoted lines from 2011 calypso “Eyes On D Hill” by Deneison “Dee Diamond” Moses, which surmised that the rich had their eyes on the land in Laventille as the sea eroded their homes in west Trinidad.
“PNM is coming for your land and it has gone. They have already signed the contract,” said the senator,” I ask the Government if the public service and the public service commission was in charge, would they have been fair value, why was this not consulted upon.”
In response to the Opposition Senator, Government Senator Clarence Rambharat raised the lack of accountability seen during the Life Sport saga.
“It involved a state enterprise with numerous gatekeepers, it involved a ministry with a permanent secretary to whom the responsibility is entrusted,” said Rambharat as he too noted that for numerous administrations the public service had not been up to standard.
“I thought Life Sport would have been the brilliant context for what Senator Viera was raising and that is the failure of a system long constructed and outdated somewhere along the line,” said Rambharat.