LEADER of the Port of Spain Peoples Party (PPM), Louis Lee Sing, said he has no problem with Prime Minister Dr Rowley describing his fledgling organisation as “a latrine party” saying he (Lee Sing) and some party members had come from “the bowels of the PNM.”
In fact, Lee Sing said, he was very happy Rowley chose to descend to the base level of throwing “latrine” insults the PPM’s way since it afforded him the opportunity to state that under Rowley’s tenure as PM, this country’s capital, in 2019, has over 3,000 latrine pits.
At a local government election meeting Wednesday night in St James, Lee Sing said the fact that so many outhouses still exist in Port of Spain is a messy indictment against the PNM, of which Rowley is political leader, since that party has been in charge of the City Corporation for decades, with no tangible improvements to the city.
Lee Sing said that in modern day Trinidad, amid 4G internet and hi-tech computers, a PNM-led city council has overseen a scenario in which thousands of people in the capital still use latrines, and in some homes, one latrine is used by six different families.
“I understand the political leader of the red party last evening (Tuesday) used good and valuable time to launch a broadside on my person and on the PPM. He called the PPM a latrine party. This is the one millionth illustration of the contempt this unworthy person has for the people of Port of Spain,” Lee Sing told supporters.
“They didn’t know that the day would come when from within the very bowels of that party, the PNM, would emerge a group of people who would stand up and demand a better deal for the 12 districts which constitute the city of Port of Spain.
“The team which has emerged is, in large part, some of the people who came from the bowels of that party.”
He thanked those people for breaking out of the shackles of the “red party.” Lee Sing then went into the dangers that come from the pit latrines. He revealed there are still 3,000 pit latrines and said as a result, the people of PoS are at risk of being exposed to dangerous diseases.
Deputy Mayor Hillan Morean, during a telephone interview on Thursday, said Lee Sing’s numbers are “way off the mark”, as the city corporation in conjunction with the East PoS Development Company and the Rural Development Company have eradicated most of the latrines.
Morean said the latrines were removed and replaced with proper working toilets with proper sewerage systems in an initiative which was started by then mayor Lee Sing. “What Lee Sing needs to do is recognise that PoS has come a long way,” Morean said. “It was a very good initiative but the city of PoS has it under control.”
While he could not give the exact figure, Morean told Newsday people from the three entities tasked with locating and filling in latrines, are struggling to do so since the bulk of these pits has already been dealt with.
In the past two years, Morean said, over 170 latrines have been replaced with toilets.
“I have a lot of respect for Lee Sing, but he needs to give proper figures instead of trying to sensationalise his campaign. We are confident because we have been surveying areas and there are very few latrines left in PoS.”
Morean speculated Lee Sing may have gotten confused with the boundaries of PoS which encompasses Belmont, Laventille and other areas, with the borders of the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation which includes San Juan and parts of Beetham. Morean noted during the last survey only about 20 people had approached the corporation to have latrines replaced.
The deputy mayor said latrines have cropped up as a result of unplanned development in areas of the city. Morean said that in several cases, people who were squatting did not build their houses near any infrastructure conducive to having toilets and as such, dug latrine pits.
An official from the East PoS Development Company said they first received between 60 and 70 names at the start of the latrine replacement initiative, and by the end of the year, the company would have done work to fill and seal about 300 latrines.