Finance Minister and acting Energy Minister Colm Imbert is happy that oil prices are rising which he said is positive for the economy of the country.
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Millions more needed to update Chag Boardwalk
In excess of $40 million has already been spent on the development of the Chaguaramas Boardwalk project, however, millions more are needed to fix the problems the development is facing.
This was disclosed to the T&T Guardian by chairman of the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA), Anthony Pierre during a tour of the facilities on Wednesday.
Pierre said all phases of the development project would be completed but admitted that this year would be a year of consolidation.
“The project works that are currently being undertaken continued but we do not plan to implement any new projects just yet. We have to have time to sit down and make proper evaluations as to where we are and where we need to go.
“This year will be a year of consolidation where we will try to fix what we have and continue the ground works. Maybe in 2017 we will look at what else could be done,” Pierre said.
Some food vendors at the facility have lodged complaints over the past few months and Pierre was shown some of the existing problems, including lack of a proper water supply, electrical issues, construction, structural and infrastructural issues and security concerns.
One of the vendors, who asked not to be identified, said they paid between $5,000 to $10,000 in monthly rental fees and added that for that price their services were not properly marketed to visitors to the area.
“Some of us cannot open everyday and have to depend on weekend sales only but hardly anyone knows that we sell food here. We need a nice seating area with umbrellas where people can come and buy the food and sit and eat. There need to be signs placed in the busiest parts of the boardwalk so people would be aware that there are a variety of food available, including grill and curry,” the vendor said.
“We need a proper lighting system so that people could feel free to come at late evenings into the night. We also need heavy security in the area, including after hours, when we all are locked up and gone,” the vendor added.
Another tenant, Videsh Beecham, Mini Offroad Mayhem (Remote control cars track), who also met with Pierre, said he remained hopeful as he was pleased with some of the lucrative promises made by the CDA's chairman.
Pierre assured the vendors that immediate action would be taken to try to remedy some of the issues while other remedial works would take place within a six-month to a year period.
“This area has a lot of potential. If properly done and managed it could be a gem, both for the CDA and the people of T&T.
“We will try to do that from the vendors perspective because they have invested monies in their small businesses and we will want to support them in giving them every possible opportunity to succeed in their businesses,” Pierre said.
By August, the mini golf area and water park is expected to be completed and soon after, the restaurant.
While there on Wednesday, the T&T Guardian met with some foreigners, who described the development as awesome.
Married couple Clement and Janice Baker, of Brooklyn, New York, who both visited the boardwalk for the first time could not stop talking about how much they were enjoying the uniqueness of the development.
“It is just refreshing. I am glad I can sit here and just enjoy the sea breeze,” Clement said.
Another visitor, Trinidad-born Selwyn Augustine, who also resides in New York, said he had returned to T&T after 40 years and was shocked to see how much Chaguaramas has developed.