FOUNDER and director of the Black Agenda Project Dr David Muhammad says while he is hopeful the Port of Spain revitalisation programme will bring about much needed infrastructural development to the nation’s capital, he wants the authorities to focus on residential communities in east Port of Spain over the commercial centres.
On Monday, the Prime Minister announced the programme would seek to develop and refurbish parts of the city which fell into disrepair as a means of improving the quality of life in those areas.
Speaking with Newsday on Wednesday, Muhammad said he hoped the programme would have residents' best interests in mind by focusing on their needs and concerns during development.
He also hoped the programme would offer more opportunities for employment for east Port of Spain residents with the use of small contracting firms based in the city.
“My only concern is that it be done in the best interest of the residential community, because clearly Queen Street is not the part of Port of Spain in most dire need of upliftment and development. In George Street there are places where you have open drug addiction, foul stench, all kinds of illicit activities taking place and some abandoned buildings in east Port of Spain. None of this happens in Queen Street.
“We have all of these small-scale contractors who have done a lot of magnificent work on buildings and schools in east Port of Spain, so we must involve them in the development process. We can’t give all the financial benefits to those who are already wealthy and established.” Muhammad said he also hoped that government could meet and discuss plans for community development with various stakeholder groups who could assist in a more complete transformation of the city.