Last update: 11-Dec-2013 6:16 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
You are here
Lee Sing slams COP ‘invasion’ at latrine eradication launch
Outgoing Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing claimed he was set up yesterday when an event dealing with the eradication of latrines began to look like a campaign meeting for Monday’s local government elections. Before the event began at The Greens on Piccadilly Street, east Port-of-Spain, members of the Congress of the People congregated on the pavement, some wearing jerseys bearing the party’s emblem, while others handed out T-shirts to passers-by from a parked car.
Cars topped with megaphones blasted announcements that the COP was parked opposite The Greens. Seemingly appalled, Lee Sing—a PNM mayor—said he could not believe he had been invited to a COP rally. “And that frightens me for the democracy of this country,” he said. “When I look around and I see so many of the COP assembled here, I know I have been set up here as the mayor of Port-of-Spain.
“Had it not been so obscene, it would be laughable that you people at the East Port-of-Spain Development Company would waste our taxpayers’ money to score cheap points and win votes for a programme you have neither conceived nor implemented. You fool no one with this circus here this morning.” Insisting the project did not belong to the central government because it was “not in the central government’s genes” to come up with such an initiative, Lee Sing urged that people must be put first.
“This is a programme that was conceived within the Port-of-Spain City Corporation and it is currently funded by the corporation, of which I, as mayor, had tremendous responsibility in bringing on stream.
“East Port-of-Spain Development Company Ltd is under contract by us to perform the job of removing cesspits and installing proper toilets and bathrooms for the people in east Port-of-Spain. To attempt to politicise this matter, as you are doing here demonstrates the desperation of this government and it further demonstrates the barrenness of this government to be creative,” Lee Sing added.
Giving a synopsis of how the project began, Lee Sing said when he came into office he found there were 3,000 latrines in the city and a proposal was then sent to the central government to remove all of them. “We asked the government for $45 million and they gave us $2 million in the 2010/2011 budget and we could do not much.
“When we did the maths we could only eradicate 87 pits. We tendered under the Central Tenders Board and at the level of the corporation, but nobody felt they wanted to go in and remove the pits,” Lee Sing recalled. He said a contract was then entered into with the East Port-of-Spain Development Company to remove 87 latrines and replace them with bathrooms.
“But here I am being invited to a circus to launch a project that is already launched. All I ask is that the work of the city be carried out in the interest of the corporation who contracted you and we are paying the bill,” Lee Sing added. He also threatened to sue the company for breach of contract. In response to Lee Sing’s remarks, Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie said, “On the week in which you have a local government election it is inevitable that even if you try to do something constructive that it could become very politicised.”
On the COP supporters being present at yesterday’s event, Tewarie said they wanted to make their presence felt as they would have known about the event. Annabelle Davis, chairman of the East Port-of-Spain Company, said yesterday’s event was “not unusual” and was the “brainchild of a number of persons.” “We recognise our role as contractors in this matter and we are clear we are here simply to treat with the award of the contract and ensure we are here to work in the best interest of the people,” Davis added.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.