For Sarah Perez, who is the head of her household, it is a constant struggle to keep up with rising food prices.
Perez lives in Chaguanas with her daughter and two grandchildren.
By the end of the year, the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development expects to have at least four private investors interested in investing in East Port-of-Spain, according to Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development, Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie.
Tewarie, who was addressing members of the private sector at a consultation on the development of Port-of-Spain organised by the Economic Development Board (EDB), at the International Waterfront Towers, said he hopes to see East Port-of-Spain as a place of peace, imbued with cultural power, engaged and reenergised which would give the city the opportunity to rebuild and create another equivalent of MovieTowne, although with a character of its own.
He reiterated that no development can take place without collaboration of all stakeholders.
The meeting was chaired by chairman of the EDB Richard P Young and attended by Mayor of Port-of-Spain Raymond Tim Kee; president, Downtown Owners Merchants Association (DOMA), Gregory Aboud; Franco Siu Chong, chairman, T&T International Financial Centre; and Catherine Kumar, CEO, T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
Also present were representatives from East Port of Spain community, East Port of Spain Development Company Limited, members of the Co-ordinating Committee for the Sustainable City of Port of Spain Initiative as well as ministry personnel.
Presentations were done on business development opportunities in Port-of-Spain by CEO of the East Port-of-Spain Development Company, Dr Deborah Thomas and Sustainable City Initiatives by Karishma Nanoo, IDB co-ordinator, Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative (ESPCI) in Port-of-Spain.
Dr Thomas outlined the development strategy for the East Port-of-Spain area which include economic development via growth poles; economic sustainability and regeneration; providing employment and income for the people of Port-of-Spain; increasing entrepreneurship and expanding business opportunities; and attracting investment by new firms which would create new jobs for the people in the area.
In her presentation Nanoo outlined a number of initiatives under the ESPCI: Flood Alleviation and Drainage Project; Restoration of Fort Picton; The establishment of a Women’s City Centre; Urban Sustainability and Mobility Programme; and a Technical and Vocational Institute in collaboration with the Catholic Church and the Belmont community.
In responding to the presentations, most of the private sector representatives felt they should have been brought in earlier in the process. However, they expressed their willingness to collaborate with Government in developing the area and improving the main city. They also felt Government needs to put in place the relevant policies and legislation, to develop infrastructure for the area and the right ambience must be created especially with regards to safety.