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San Fernando wants fair share of upcoming budget

Monday, August 18, 2014
Daphne Bartlett

Members of the South Business Association (SBA) are hoping come budget day this September, the city of San Fernando will finally get the allocation it needs to bring it up to city standards. 
So said president of the association, Daphne Bartlett, in an interview with TG Business on Thursday. Bartlett said for far too long the southern city has been forgotten and ignored. 
“We have seen great development taking place in several areas across the country,” she said. “But San Fernando has been ignored for the past four years.”
Although San Fernando is the second city in T&T, Bartlett says there is no parking and no real development taking place.
“We need desperately need a public car park in south. We have even identified a location on Pennington Street that would be ideal,” said Bartlett. “We are not demanding impossible things without any real thought on it.”
She reiterated calls for an administrative building in San Fernando so southerners could do their business with dignity. 
“There are government offices in people’s home. There is traffic and a run-around to get things done. If we had an administrative building, we could get everything done under the same roof and get it done with dignity.”
Bartlett is cautioning the Government to keep a tight reign on their ministers and hold them accountable for their spending.
“There needs to be accountability. When you have a scandal in a ministry like the Life Sport programme and a minister saying even though it was under his ministry, he is not accountable, we need to ensure we are getting value for our money.”
Also on the SBA’s list are CCTV cameras, installed and monitored across the country and a more effective and safer method of storing evidence at police stations. 
“We don’t want just lip-service. We want CCTV cameras installed and properly monitored and the National Security Minister must take a close look at how evidence is handled in police stations.”
Sahid Hosein, president of the Penal/Debe Chamber of Commerce, echoed Bartlett’s calls for accountability, also citing the Life Sport programme as an example of the lack of accountability. 
“We want to see an increase in the resources to the Auditor General’s Department because we are spending considerable funds in this country and not getting value for our money.”
Hosein said he expects the Finance Minister to bring a bigger budget as elections are next year.  
“We should see an increase in spending as next year is an election year, I am not sure if that is sustainable, we need to look at our spending.”
Hosein said the chamber wants a nature park in Penal, among 
other things. 
“We want the establishment of national nature park on 100 acres of state land on the Penal Quinam Road Mendez.”
Like the SBA, the chamber is calling for CCTV cameras in Penal, Debe and across the country. Several roadways and bridges have also been earmarked for widening and other infrastructural works, which Hosein hopes to get allocations for come September.


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