MASON HALL youths are complaining about the lack of jobs in the area.
They are also claiming that the area’s representative in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Ian Pollard, does not walk around the community.
Their grievances were conveyed through former Mason Hall resident Kelvin Cato, during an executive council district town hall meeting on Tuesday night at the Moriah Community Centre.
Cato, who now lives in Hope, said he talks frequently to the young people.
“I represent them and talk for them, because I motivate them all the way and they are saying they are not seeing the secretary in Mason Hall, period,” he said during the open forum.
“I left here one year ago and I am back here and they say nothing is happening in Mason Hall…. Mr Pollard is the secretary for Mason Hall/Moriah and these guys in Mason Hall not seeing you on the ground to talk to you whatsoever in your office.”
Cato said the young people deliberately did not attend the meeting for fear of victimisation.
“It is something that is handed down inno, from the PNM into this THA. People have a fear about dey self, which I don’t have a fear because nobody victimises me. I have an independent mind so they can’t victimise me.”
He said they also complained about the lack of opportunities in the area.
“It have no project in Mason Hall whatsoever. These guys telling me, 'Cato, we getting crumbs in Mason Hall.'”
Cato accused Pollard of not answering his cellphone.
“I was trying to communicate with you from New York and I am calling you and you are not answering your calls. But with due respect, do what you have to do for the people.”
Cato also accused Pollard’s colleague Bagatelle/Bacolet assemblyman Nathisha Charles-Pantin, of not helping the people.
He urged them to “do you all ground work.
“Be there for the people. Don’t be scared of the people. Go on the ground with them. I go on the ground with them. I don’t care who they are and I talk to them. Them fellas respect me.
"This is what the people want.”
In response, Pollard, who is also the Secretary of Settlements, Public Utilities and Rural Development, dismissed the view that he was not on the ground.
But he said his ability to carry out projects in the area was constrained by lack of funding.
“I am a politician of a difference," he said, "because of the shortcomings this dispensation met, with owing over $1 billion in debt – I want Tobagonians to do the Math. If we have a $300 million subvention from Trinidad for development, if we are to pay this debt, would anything be done in this community?”
Pollard claimed he has already spoken to the young people in the community and projects are coming.
“I am not a representative that will try to give you an early-morning wuk.”
He said housing projects will soon be on stream at Adelphi Estate, Plymouth and Shirvan Road.
“Tobagonians, get yourself ready because if you are not ready the train will leave you.”
He said people coming into Tobago to work on projects are looking for returns on their investment.
“When a man is afforded a contract and he is looking to build 100 units and you give one electrician ten houses to wire, he looking for someone with certification.”
Pollard said he has been telling the young men, in particular, to get certified.
“Prepare for what is coming. So if the opportunities come and they are complaining about the opportunities they do not have at this point in time, and you do not benefit for it, you cannot be in this dispensation. I have been warning them.”
He said he does not believe in making empty promises.
“I am not the type of politician to go around and promise anyone that I will talk to you next week. because I know that was happening before. If you do the same thing the same way you are going to get the same results. So I keep telling my people get yourself ready, work is coming.”