Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez is seeking the assistance of corporate Trinidad and community groups with the setting up of a homeless centre in the capital city.
He was speaking with the media on Saturday during a tree planting exercise as part of the Citizens for Conservation Queen’s Park Savannah Bicentennial Celebration and was held yesterday opposite the entrance to President’s House.
He said that as the new mayor his objective is to “bring people back into the city and to get people to enjoy the environment within the city.”
He said the business community could look at some buildings to possibly convert into apartments as the city has the infrastructure and people lived in the city many years ago.
“It is just that they have moved away from the city because the city has died naturally.”
Asked about the socially displaced population being a deterrent to people wanting to live in the city and what the Port of Spain City Corporation was doing to remedy the issue Martinez reported that last week there was a meeting between the corporation and the Social Development Ministry together with the Health Ministry and the National Security Ministry.
“We have been having a number of meetings to deal with the homeless.
“They are citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. They are dispossessed. The vulnerable aspect of our society. We need as a country as we progress and mature as a country to take care of our dispossessed society. That is foremost on our agenda.”
He said they have designated a piece of land where they will be looking at the building of a homeless centre. He said they want to include the business community and NGOs like the Rotary Clubs and the Chamber of Commerce to get involved in the project.
“Because it’s not our problem alone – it’s everybody’s problem. And we don’t want it to be a problem. We want it to be a solution. And we want to be able to find a way to take care of our people.”
He said they started the exercise and more will be revealed in the coming weeks.
“And if we can rally the communities to come together I think it will be a very successful objective.”
Asked about stray dogs in the city he said last week the Trinidad Hilton asked for his assistance in removal of stray dogs around the hotel and they conducted the exercise. He said from time to time this will be encountered. He said they have a dog catching unit and they have to ensure that they are properly manned so they can ensure there are no stray dogs which can end up in the road and cause accidents.
“It is an exercise we really need to take care of.”