FILE PHOTO – Chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation, Henry Awong, at the scene of the landslip at Los Attajos, on January 7th, 2022, which he said had not yet been repaired by any state agencies.

The Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation (CTTRC) is seeking to meet with Faris Al Rawi, the new Minister of Rural Development and Local Government, to discuss the unavailability of funds.

Speaking with Guardian Media, CTTRC Chairman Henry Awong warned there would be no easy transition period for the new minister.

“There should be no honeymoon for the new Ministers,” he said.  “People are demanding services and all we got from the last minister was a barrage of excuses. The CTTRC is starved of resources. There are 20 plus landslides; around 10 depilated bridges that are being used by farmers that have only gotten worse in the last five years. The number of bad roads in the region are too much to mention.”

“The Ministry of Works, when asked to help, is only passing the blame and offering nothing,” he added.

Awong said $1.4 million was allocated for repairs to roads, bridges, and landslides for fiscal 2021-2022; however, the monies are yet to be released by the Ministry of Finance.

“The average man out there doesn’t want to hear about any honeymoon period for ministers and related nonsense,” he asserted. 

“Citizens are struggling and paying taxes. All we have been hearing is that the government doesn’t have money, yet there is money for foreign trips, money for carnival, money for everything else—but none to deliver the goods and services to the people,” the CTTRC head argued.

According to Henry Awong, residents are now forced to protest or beg local businesses for help.

“Businesses are already challenged to remain afloat,” he said.  “We at the CTTRC would be writing the new minister seeking a meeting.”

“We hope he can do better,” he added.