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Al-Rawi: San Fernando is the best corporation

Clint Chan Tack Minister of Local Government and Rural Developmen Faris Al-Rawi at the PNM meeting in San Fernando on May 24. - Marvin Hamilton
Minister of Local Government and Rural Developmen Faris Al-Rawi at the PNM meeting in San Fernando on May 24. - Marvin Hamilton

RURAL Development and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi declared that the San Fernando City Corporation is the best out of all 14 local government corporations in Trinidad.

Al-Rawi, who is also San Fernando West MP, made this declaration when he spoke at a PNM public meeting at San Fernando City Hall on May 24.

Referring to allocations given to local government corporations to provide services to their burgesses, Al-Rawi said, "Some corporations spent only two per cent of their money by month ten out of 12."

He did not name those corporations.

PNM supporters cheered when Al-Rawi said, "San Fernando City Corporation is in fact, forgive me the rest of TT, the best performing corporation, in Trinidad."

The San Fernando City Corporation was allocated $11.5 million in the 2021/2022 budget. That allocation increased to $40 million in the next year's budget.

Al-Rawi said all of the money allocated to San Fernando "was accounted for by month number six of this year."

He told PNM supporters, "It is not so much, how much you got. It's more a matter of how well and efficiently that you can spend it."

Al-Rawi said the number of jobs and economic opportunities created through efficient use of expenditure was equally important.

He disclosed that San Fernando currently has $256 million in projects in progress.

Al-Rawi was not surprised that because of this the Opposition UNC is suddenly interested in San Fernando.

Al-Rawi urged his audience, "Look at development and look what is on sale by the UNC."

He recalled that in 2014, the UNC-led People's Partnership coalition government neglected San Fernando.

"Nothing going on in San Fernando. At best, there was a pseudo attempt for a waterfront."

Al-Rawi said the newly upgraded Skinner Park, ongoing works at King's Wharf and other parts of San Fernando since the PNM returned to office in 2015, tell an entirely different story about the city today.

He identified $67 million in coastal erosion protection at King's Wharf, $136 million to widen Lady Hailes Avenue and $43 million for commercial and residential squatter relocation as some of the developments taking place in San Fernando under the PNM.

"San Fernando's turn at the wheel came with the PNM."

With the public procurement act being fully proclaimed, Al-Rawi continued, local government corporations will benefit from this.

Al-Rawi recalled that not long ago, the UNC was bothering the public non-stop with complaints about potholes everywhere.

He asked, "Where is that story today?"

Later in the meeting, the Prime Minister agreed with Al-Rawi's views.

While the UNC is demanding local government elections be held immediately, Dr Rowley said all the UNC wants "is do continue what they have been doing before (at local government) which is nothing."