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Lee Sing warns owners: Number houses, building
Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing has warned property owners in the city yesterday to put up numbers on their houses or buildings or face an administrative fine of $300. He was speaking at the monthly statutory meeting of the Port-of-Spain Corporation in the council chamber, City Hall, Knox Street, Port-of-Spain, when he said it was the responsibility of burgesses to properly “label” their properties. He added: “The 30-day period has come to an end and I wish to advise all owners of properties within the city that the council will begin an exercise shortly that will allow us to employ some people to put up numbers that are now missing.
Of course the owners of the properties on which we put up the numbers will be asked to pay the administrative cost of $300 a house or building,” He said while he was not detracted from weeding out all forms of lawlessness within the city, the corporation also had a responsibility to safeguard the well-being of those vulnerable in society. Lee Sing, who invited the executive director of Persons Associated with Visual Impairment (PAVI), Kern Tyson, said the corporation’s vision married the many concerns faced by the members of PAVI and burgesses alike who objected to the dangers of damaged pavements and uncovered manholes in particular. In contending with Tyson’s concerns regarding poor infrastructural works on the city’s roads, Lee Sing alluded to delays in funding from central government and the meagre budgetary allocation given to oversee those projects.
“With $13.5 million given to us for all the developmental works in the city of Port-of-Spain we cannot even fix the pavements with that... given the volume of pavements we have,” Lee Sing said. While he lauded the noble contributions of councillor for St James West Robin Bynoe (the lone councillor in the corporation representing the ruling People’s Partnership) Lee Sing trained his guns on the Government when he accused Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh of delaying the city’s much-needed emergency evacuation plan/ centre (estimated to cost the corporation $1 million).
He said it was long completed and awaited input from the minister who had under his purview over 50 schools in the area which needed to be adequately considered before any system of that nature could be executed. Lee Sing also levelled criticism to what he saw as the “damaging” culture of the city corporation, in his condemnation of its policies with regard to overtime. “We have scenarios whereby our overtime bill ranges between 30 to 65 per cent of the basic wage bill and so we are in ongoing discussions in trying to get the employee body to understand that our culture must be one which speaks to the issue of an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay,” Lee Sing added.
According to Sections 138 and 139 of the Municipal Corporations Act, a council shall “number or renumber all premises, including vacant lots within the municipality... and shall cause relevant number plates to be affixed to all premises.” While Section 141 of the Act penalises any “person who destroys, pulls down or defaces any number plate put up by the council to a fine of $500,” there is no legal stipulation that burgesses can be fined for failing to affix these “number plates” on their own.
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