Clyde Paul, chairman of the Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) said recently that he had nothing to say on claims by contractors that they had not been paid for the past four months.
Paul, a former mayor of Point Fortin, told Newsday, “I have no comment to make on the claims by CEPEP contractors. I do not trust the press, they take things and swing it however they feel and I have nothing to say.” Pressed about the contractors’ claims, Paul reiterated, “I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say on that matter. Have a good day.”
Several CEPEP contractors have said that whenever they enquire from CEPEP about these outstanding payments, they are given excuses such as, there are no available funds, money is yet to be released and/or there is a planned restructuring of CEPEP.
This, they said, is causing an issue with respect to payments. The contractors said they may have to surrender contracts if they are not paid. Some workers, they claimed, are threatening to quit.
“We are reeling under financial pressure and we are hoping that either the Minister of Local Government Kazim Hosein or the chairman invite us to a meeting and explain to us why we are not being paid and what is the future for CEPEP contractors,” a contractor said. Minister Hosein could not be reached for comment.