Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial says businesses are losing out because of Government neglect.
The MP made the statement during the opening of her sub-office along the Southern Main Road, Couva, on Monday night.
MP Ramdial said businesses in Couva continue to suffer because of the crumbling infrastructure in the area. She said when the People’s Partnership Government was in power, the drains in the area were cleaned at a cost of $1.2 million in 2012. She said the move then curbed heavy flooding.
The Couva North MP stated that after eight years the drains are now clogged up and the roadway is crumbling with a plethora of potholes that serve to keep the public as far away as possible from the business section of Couva.
Ramdial also pointed to the crime situation, noting that it has worsened. She said in the last 5 years, several calls had to be made to the relevant authorities to provide the necessary resources to the Central Division—such as vehicles and manpower. She said calls for joint police army patrols around Christmas to Carnival started and fell through the cracks.
Meanwhile, president of the Couva Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce, Ramchand Rajbal Maraj, told the gathering that businesses are under financial constraints because of the growing crime situation in Couva.
Mr Maraj said businesses are finding it too costly to pay for security personnel and surveillance equipment. Rajbal Maraj said he plans to have a meeting with all stakeholders to discuss a way forward to deal with the crime problem.
Rajbal Maraj also knocked the Regional Carnival Commission (RCC) for short-changing Carnival in Central.
“The business community is very fearful that there will not be any major mas celebrations like those we have witnessed in the past,” he said.
The business chamber president noted that for the last three years, the allocations for Carnival in Central have shrunk drastically. He said because of low funds from the RCC, many bands plan to blank Carnival celebrations across Central because they just cannot handle the low prize monies. He said the time has come to level the playing field and give Central it’s just due, similar to what is given for celebrations in Port of Spain and San Fernando.
Also at Monday’s event was local government Councillor Alan Seepersad, who called on Government to be equitable in the distribution of social services.
Seepersad said several persons have applied for grants and food cards, only to be blanked or lost in the bureaucracy.
Story by SHASTRI BOODAN