Last update: 05-Dec-2013 1:31 am
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Residents to St Joseph MP: Hang up your boots
Some St Joseph constituents are advising former St Joseph MP Herbert Volney to hang up his political boots. They also feel that the former justice minister is politically dead. The advice came hours after Speaker Wade Mark declared Volney’s seat vacant last Monday in Parliament. Though Volney has signalled his intention to take the matter to court, some residents of the squatting settlement in Bangladesh are urging him to call it a day.
Anita Bachan, 37, said if Volney has a change of heart and decides to contest the seat under an Independent Liberal Party (ILP) ticket or as an independent candidate in a by-election, they would not support him. Several of Bachan’s neighbours and family members expressed similar sentiments. Bachan said Volney has left a sour taste in their mouths after the PP Government hoodwinked them into believing that they were going to be regularised.
The issue of regularisation was first raised by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar during a public meeting in the build-up to the May 24, 2010, general election. Persad-Bissessar insisted that she would not allow the Land Settlement Agency (LSA), a department of the Housing Ministry, to arbitrarily demolish and evict squatters. Thinking that the UNC was seeking their interest, Bachan said, the majority of residents voted for Volney, a decision they claim they have regretted, since many are still without certificates of comforts.
Many of the residents admitted that the ILP was their last hope, but they urged ILP leader Jack Warner not to tag along any extra baggage with him. Nathalia Boodram said, “We don’t want to hear nothing from Volney. He should hang up his political boots.”
We can’t trust this administration
President of the Aranguez United Farmers Association Mukesh Rampersad said for years Aranguez farmers have been battling with flooding and heavy losses in crops, but the problems continue to linger. A stone’s throw away at Abdool Young Street, Bhisham Dial said Volney should ride out into the sunset. “Volney is too arrogant. He is not a people’s person.” Along bustling Abercromby Street, resident Alfredo Revas who could not recall the last time he had seen Volney said he will give him the support if Warner endorses him.
Reuben Stroud, 69, said Volney was politically dead as far as he was concerned. “He is washed up now. His political days are over. It’s time to send in new and fresh blood to represent the people. We deserve better.”
Volney: They never had it so good
In a response to the criticisms levelled against him, Volney said he has done a lot in his constituency in the last three years. Volney slammed residents of Bangladesh, stating that they had an insatiable desire “for freeness” and had become too dependent on the Government. He said Bangladesh was the recipient of several things. Volney said due to the neglect by the Ministry of Food Production farmers have been suffering.
“If I was the minister of food production there would have been no complaints.” He said millions of dollars have been spent on projects that span from Mt D’or Road in Champs Fleurs to Bamboo Settlement 1, while hundreds of constituents landed jobs in the public and private sectors. Some of the projects involved upgrading of roads, construction of box drains, drainage and installation of street lights. “They never had it so good.”
Ten projects in Mt Lambert have been approved for 2014, Volney said. Among the work Volney outlined was a $6 million project to prevent land slippage at Hilltop Drive, Champs Fleurs, with another $6 million bridge being built over the St Joseph River. “I accept that more could have been done, not through the lack of effort by the Member of Parliament, but through lack of delivery by relevant ministries.”
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