Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, defended his call for local government reform, as he stated that regional corporations are not functioning as effectively as they should.
Speaking at the opening of the refurbished $131 million Skinner Park, San Fernando facility on Monday, Rowley said local government meant “putting serious responsibility in the hands of local people.”
He said the Skinner Park facility will eventually be placed fully in the hands of the city of San Fernando to be maintained, cleaned and protected by the people of San Fernando.
The PM added they will have the resources to do that from two sources – the taxes collected from the community and the allocation provided by the Central Government.”
He questioned why detractors could not see the benefits of reform that will ultimately put more power in the hands of regional bodies.
Rowley said the existing model is not working.
“They have elections ever so ever and do the same thing, which is largely nothing,” he said.
He challenged citizens to see for themselves, the ineffectiveness of the various municipal and regional corporations.
“Go and call your corporation, anywhere you live. Penal/Debe don’t have gas to put in their vehicle so they can’t collect the garbage, but you are a corporation, with a mayor and a chain. Absolute rubbish. You go to Diego Martin and you call the Diego Martin Corporation to fix a pothole, and they say we don’t have any money,” Dr Rowley said.
“I almost lost my whole house two months ago because the drain outside my house is broken. And the corporation can’t fix it because they haven’t got the sand and the cement. And the water came through from the drain, into my house and undermined my yard and I was just there in time to catch the landslide before it cut eight inches of separation in my yard,” he revealed.
He said he eventually had to fix the problem himself, and pointed out that if the corporations had their own revenue, this would be one of the areas that will be addressed by reform.
“If a corporation has a revenue stream, it can always do more than if it was waiting for a handout for cash,” he said.