Corporations still face $$ challenges

Kazim Hosein -
Kazim Hosein -

SOME local government corporations are still facing funding challenges as the new year enters its second week.

Last month, Penal/Debe Regional Corporation (PDRC) chairman Dr Allen Sammy said the PDRC had not received its subvention for the current financial year, and its essential operations could soon grind to a halt.

He said the corporation received only 29 per cent of its requested funds to pay for goods and services for October 1-December 31, 2019 – $2.8 million out of a requested $9.8 million.

“This is a shortfall of $6.8 million, or 71 per cent, and this is in spite of repeated requests by management pointing out the negative impacts on people’s lives,” Sammy said.

Sammy was in a meeting on Monday and unavailable for comment.

Princes Town Regional Corporation (PTRC) chairman Gowrie Roopnarine (UNC) on Monday said the PTRC is still awaiting its release from the Rural Development and Local Government Ministry. He said at this time, the corporation is owning close to $500,000 to various contractors for materials and supplies.

Roopnarine was concerned that if these debts are not repaid, it could affect infrastructural work which needs to take place in the dry season to mitigate against flooding. He also said PTRC councillors are experiencing challenges paying the rent for the offices they occupy. As a result, he said councillors work out of the corporation's offices or from their homes.

Chaguanas mayor Vandana Mohit (UNC) said her corporation is also facing challenges receiving releases. She said scavenging is the main area affected at this time by the lack of funding. She explained the corporation continues to make the best use of the funding it has.

"The situation remains the same," Mohit added.

Arima Mayor Lisa Morris-Julian (PNM) said the Arima Borough Corporation is hoping to receive releases for sanitation and salaries soon. Julien said the corporation was not worried about being unable to provide services to its burgesses because of funding challenges. "We are a resilient corporation in Arima," she added.

Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein and Finance Minister Colm Imbert could not be reached for comment.

Last month, Hosein assured all corporations, "The releases will come."

Also last month, San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation chairman Anthony Roberts (PNM) said, "You have to manage your stuff."

Roberts said whenever the releases come, corporations have to use their resources wisely and keep the country's current economic circumstances in mind. He added that all corporations never get all they request.

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