Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds said that he rejected claims that Government was not doing anything for young people and black people.
He was speaking at the graduation ceremony for participants of the Cipriani College of Labour and Co-Operative Studies "Empowering Communities through Education - The Laventille Project" held on Saturday at the Laventille Community Centre.
He said that he had been hearing complaints against Government about not doing anything for young people and black people but pointed out the graduates of the project was "only youth." He also said that such a programme would require Government support.
Hinds said that they were living in "extremely seriously dangerously economic stringency" and Government was "struggling on a monthly basis to meet our national commitments to you." He said young people and black people were benefiting from the programme.
"So you see why I have to reject the suggestion that the Government has done nothing for young people and eh (sic) doing nothing for black people."
He said that regardless of what is happening their priority is to meet the needs of those who want to educate themselves and people would not be denied education and training for want of money, which did not happen in every country. He said the second priority is, even if they cannot pay public servants' salaries, was to provide benefits to those in need like senior citizens through the Social Development Ministry.
"That is the best evidence of a Government that determined to look after those who have needs in the society."
Hinds said the programme will bring the graduates personal benefit and their families, the community and the country will also benefit.
"Good things do happen in Laventille and you need not be afraid (to come here)."
Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus said the programme showed to the graduates and the Laventille community that they are endowed with the intellect and the mental, physical, psychological capacity and ambition to empower and elevate themselves and "enrich your inner being and take responsibility for the welfare and well being of your community."
She encouraged them to maximise their potential not only for themselves but for the citizenry.
The programme is the first outreach problem by Cipriani Labour College to Laventille. For 10 Saturdays the participants - 50 at the start and 41 at the end - received foundation teaching in the area of occupational safety and health and also an opportunity to move forward to the next level of certification with the college.
College chairman Dr Roosevelt Williams congratulated the participants on "staying the course" and noted that some of the participants had signed up for programmes at the college. He said that it did not matter what qualifications you came with but what you leave with. Williams said that the college had done other outreaches but this one was special because it was in a space that "deserves it the most."
Graduate Nekisha Dublin-Frasier commended the organisers and the lecturers and said she never felt sleepy or left the class confused.
"You have invested in us and for us we are forever grateful."
She said it was a stepping stone for the improvement of Laventille and she is looking forward to more courses and the opening of an Cipriani open campus in the building offering certificate programmes.