As Government moves to make Diego Martin one of two new boroughs in the country, residents said yesterday they are baffled by what this means for their community.
The matter was raised in Parliament on Wednesday, during debate on the Miscellaneous Provisions (Establishment of the Borough of Diego Martin and the Borough of Siparia) Bill 2021. The other regional corporation tabled for borough status is Siparia.
At one of the busiest points in Diego Martin, the transport hub in Bagatelle, many residents said they weren’t really sure what it meant but said they hoped that it would only better the community.
One resident, market vendor Elizabeth Letrin, said she strongly believes that things still need to be done at a regional corporation level before it can reach borough status.
“There are some things I would say that needs to be looked at though, because being in a region we have not been getting so much done,” Letrin said.
Letrin added that she hopes residents will not have to endure hefty taxes. “I believe they would probably have it a little self-contained of a situation running the Local Government and other situations but at this point, as I said before I don’t see it as something pressing, something that needs to be addressed right away.”
Another resident, Lisa Maraj, said borough status would only mean more allocation of funds.
“It would mean more money and we hope that it will be put to use in the benefit of us the residents.”
Kazim Abdool said the people should have been given a better explanation from the relevant authorities.
“They should come out before and let us know certain things in the corporation and the taxes so we could understand better,” Abdool said.
In an interview with Guardian Media, Diego Martin Regional Corporation chairman Sigler Jack sought to give an explanation in simpler terms.
Jack said as a regional corporation, they have experienced lack of funding to have projects done. “Salary funding was sure because we know that figure for certain but the disbursement of funding for some works and projects didn’t come as expected and in time as expected,” Jack said.
“In its entirety, the funding and the responsibility will change. We are more inclined now to take decisions and work with burgesses at all levels to develop the Diego Martin region and that’s in essence, in a capsule, what borough status is about.”
Jack also said investments for property and land will be easier and better for residents, as well as people in the business community.
“Being a borough, we have more autonomy than what we have right now as a regional corporation,” he added.
However, Jack said over the past several years there have been several public consultations on the issue, even under the former Local Government Minister Franklin Khan, now deceased.
“I remembered attending four such consultations and these consultations were public and held all over the country,” he said.