PM: Depressed community committee to report before budget

Dr Keith Rowley
Dr Keith Rowley

THE PRIME Minister said that a committee set up to look at depressed communities in TT is scheduled to report prior to the preparation of the next budget.

On July 2 at a post Cabinet media briefing Dr Rowley said the committee, formed after two days of protests in East Port of Spain and other areas, will examine and establish the causes of disquiet and dissatisfaction among disenfranchised communities throughout the country. The committee will be headed by Anthony Watkins, whom the Prime Minister described as having spent his life working in social pathology, mental health, correctional services and psychiatric forensic assessment.

Joining him will be radio personality Hans Des Vignes; community activist and former national football coach Jamaal Shabazz; life coach Curtis Toussaint; Culture Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly; social entrepreneur Akosua Edwards; community activist Nicola Harvey of Laventille, Olympic gold medallist Hasely Crawford; and celebrity DJ Christopher “Jillionaire” Leacock.

On Monday at a media briefing, Rowley was asked about the timeline for the committee to report.

"I met with them once and they're off out there doing what they been asked to do."

He explained the committee is required to come back before the completion of budget preparations to go to Parliament to include in the budgetary allocations to treat with any recommendations that would be made to act upon them immediately. He added the allocations would be from "any limited resources available."

"Because the whole idea is to come up with an action plan and we intend to do that."

He said the committee is required to come back initially with some phase-one recommendations for the incoming budget.

Asked if the members were being paid or it was a voluntary position Rowley said it was the latter.

"But because of what they were required to do and the time it will take up subsequently we will make an arrangement to provide them with some reasonable stipend."


"PM: Depressed community committee to report before budget"

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