RADHICA DE SILVA
Following in the footsteps of his father late Prime Minister Patrick Manning, San Fernando East MP Brian Manning is lobbying to give Corinth squatter families first priority for housing units near their homes, once they qualify.
The residents who have lived on the train line for over 50 years have been battling with dust and slush from the low-cost housing construction site located about 100 feet from their homes.
Manning, who has visited the squatters several times in the past, said he felt it was his responsibility to take care of all the poor families in the constituency.
“It is our job to look after the most vulnerable in our constituency. If you listen to the Budget we spoke towards stimulating the economy and not leaving our most vulnerable behind,” Manning said.
He explained that relocating the residents of the train line was a top priority.
“This is something we will work towards. The residents of this Trainline are our highest priority in terms of our goals and agenda for the constituency,” Manning said.
Joining Manning on the tour was the Land Settlement Agency’s (LSA’s) chief executive officer Hazar Hosein and chairman of the LSA Ossley Francis.
Hosein said, “We were looking to see how we can improve the lives of persons in the area in terms of infrastructure and looking at other programmes that we implement at the ministry of housing at the land settlement agency.”
He explained that there were several programmes under the LSA’s purview which included squatter regularization, housing and village improvement and government-aided self-help housing programmes.
“We are looking at several squatting communities on the Corinth Trainline, Blitz Village and we are looking to see how we can improve the lives of persons in the area in terms of infrastructure. This is the start of the evaluation process to see how we can improve their lives,” Hosein said.
He noted that the LSA does not have the power to curb squatting which has increased within recent times. He noted that the Commissioner of State Lands, Penal/Debe Regional Corporation and the Town and Country Planning were given the authority by the State to stop recent squatters.
Meanwhile, residents of Corinth Trainline said they were eager for relocation.
Tim Nangoo said the Water and Sewerage Authority has been running sewer lines for the new housing community by drilling the existing road along the Trainline.
“Right through this road here they are drilling. They are putting the sewer thing in the middle of the road so this road locked off,” Tim said.
Resident Stephen Nangoo said he was not in favour of relocation because at this advanced stage of his life he could not go through with a mortgage.
Another resident Parbatie Deonarine said the dust was unbearable for the residents since the construction started.
“We have children who suffering from asthma here and this dust is not good for us,” Deonarine said. She said the entire road was filled with mud and slush.
Deonarine said she was happy that Manning had visited saying that she hoped he made good on his promise to improve their living conditions.