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Tewarie: $39m spent to boost East PoS
Planning and Sustainable Development Minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie says more than $39 million was spent to uplift depressed communities in east Port-of-Spain over the past three years. Providing a list of works done by the East Port-of-Spain Development Company, Tewarie said 38 projects were completed since the company was brought under his ministry, with another eight to be completed before year’s end.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony for the refurbished Basilon Street Youth Facility, Belmont, yesterday, Tewarie said it was the most work being done since the company started in 2005. Among those upgraded in east Port-of-Spain were the construction of $6.6 million pavilion at the Beetham Recreation Ground and a $5.4 million Laventille Road upgrade. Tewarie added: “I want to share with you the 45 projects in which we are involved throughout this east Port-of-Spain community of 90,000 people.
“I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of this area in which as many projects have been done in the any three-year period. “I also wish to say the East Port-of-Spain Development Company has done more projects in the last three years under the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development than it has ever done in its lifetime.”
Despite the vast investment, Tewarie noted deficiencies in employment and education. He said although more women had achieved a secondary education, more men were employed. Using a 2010 analysis on the communities, he said the percentage of working people between the ages of 15 and 64 were 71.5 per cent for men and 58.9 per cent for the women. He added that 30 per cent of men had at least completed secondary school in comparison to 42.7 per cent for women.
“While the labour force participation numbers are good for men from the San Juan and Laventille regions, we have to help females become more qualified and even encourage them to start their own businesses and become employers rather than employees. The education statistics can also be improved,” he added. With the refurbishment of the centre, Tewarie announced plans to train women to stick with a plan to establish a community based-industry.
He said he was having discussions with fashion design Anya Ayoung Chee to have the programme rolled out soon. The changes to the Basilon Street Youth Facility included the construction of an upper floor auditorium, refurbishment and outfitting of a new cosmetology room, kitchen and computer room and free WiFi through Green Dot.