Trinidad and Tobago
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Cudjoe: Focus on development


Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe – Angelo Marcelle

Sports and Community Development Minister Shamfa Cudjoe said her ministry will continue to focus on programmes for youth and the development of entrepreneurship so that people could become self-sufficient and contribute to the development of TT.

Speaking during her contribution to the budget debate on Monday, she said during the pandemic, an online programmed called TT Online Community Voices had been started which allowed people to meet virtually, and also learn more about their communities and others.

“People at home were pleased to be able to participate. We had up to 17,000 viewers at times, and while we are doing more in-person meetings now, I’d love to see it continue in the new fiscal year.”

She said the ministry had partnered with the Digicel Foundation and NGC to carry out several projects in various communities.

Cudjoe said her ministry was focused on the construction, refurbishment, and delivery of community centres. She noted that upkeep was challenging. She said recently community centres were opened in Belmont, Tacarigua, Maraval, Lisas Gardens, and St Joseph, with 20 more in the works.

She said the ministry had continued its short courses for skills development, and had trained over 13,000 people in different skills.

“We are targeting those people who are unemployed or underemployed. In addition, we have partnered with NEDCO to help these people to become entrepreneurs and to contribute to the economy of TT, so they can develop and monetise their skills alongside learning and developing the culture. Under the With These Hands programme, we pair craftspeople with masters in their fields. We have 54 people in the programme and when it’s done, we’ll pick the top five and help them seed their business.”

Cudjoe noted that the Parlour e-shopping platform enabled craftspeople to showcase and sell their work abroad through Craft Hub TT, so they do not have to depend solely on seasonal tourist sales.

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She said the Prime Minister’s Best Village Programme continued and was able to be revived this year following the pandemic. She said the offerings would be expanded next year to include craft camps, village Olympics and lauded the most recent programme, the Grow It Yourself Competition.

She said several projects were being carried out under the Community Recovery Programme, including the Community Recovery Project, the Dream-Chasers Apprenticeship and Mentorship Project (D-CAMP), and MPowerTT.

Cudjoe said TT would be hosting the Commonwealth Games this year. She said her ministry would continue investing in community sport, groups and sporting programmes, such as the seven-a-side football competition, the Learn to Swim programme, and the Pink Rain campaign. She said the ministry was working with the International Tennis Federation, FINA and UCI. She said work would continue on several stadiums to promote sport tourism.

Cudjoe said the allocation given to Tobago would be used to help improve the standard of living in Tobago. She said a public utilities programme would be coming to TT soon. She said the island was due to receive nine new ATRs to improve inter-island transportation, and the government was supporting hotel investment in Tobago.

She said up to Monday the THA had received 96 per cent of its allocation, and at the end of the day, it was up to the executive to decide what to do with it.