OWING to a lack of funding for a number of local government corporations, councillors were facing eviction for unpaid rents, contractors were threatened with lawsuits, and vehicles to assist with disaster relief could not be repaired.
These were the various issues raised during a media conference on Sunday at the Office of the Opposition Leader, Port of Spain.
Chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation Henry Awong said owing to delays in releases, the corporation has no funds to repair bridges, and some have collapsed. He said the corporation had had to get supplies on loan and the supplier was owed for more than three months.
He said for maintenance of state traces, local roads and material and supplies, the corporation was allocated $5 million in the budget but had received less than $2 million.
He added it was the People's Partnership administration which provided councillors with offices and secretaries, and before that business had to be done on the roadside and from cars. He said while the current administration was speaking about local government reform, the landlords of offices were not being paid.
Because their landlords had not been paid, two councillors were evicted fro their offices: Allan Seepersad, representative for Carli Bay/ Calcutta No 3/Mc Bean in the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation, and Bhushan Rampersad, representative for Rio Claro South/Cat's Hill in the Mayaro Rio Claro Regional Corporation.
Awong said when the issues were raised with Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein in a meeting last Monday, his response was to tell them to raise the matters with the Finance Minister.
"I think that our minister, our line minister, should be raising those matters at a Cabinet level with a very strong voice because local government...is the closest to the people."