“This is archaic and below the standard of living,” she said in an interview with reporters after commemoration of World Food Day by the Ministry of Agriculture at the Hilton Hotel and Conference yesterday. When showed the Newsday picture of the squalid living conditions, Gopee-Scoon went silent for a few seconds and was visibly shocked.
She said she was seeing the picture for the first time and found it “below living conditions.”
According to a report in yesterday’s Newsday, land on which a camp housing more than 100 Chinese labourers in Central Trinidad was registered with the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation by a local company as a site for a “warehouse/office” and not for accommodation.
During a tour of the camp, public health officials from the County Medical Office of Health in Caroni found the Chinese labourers, who work for Beijing Liujing Construction Corporation (BLCC), lived in unsanitary conditions. The workers do not have private toilets and washroom facilities.
Beijing Liujian has since applied to the Immigration Division to have the work permits of 32 labourers revoked for breach of contract.
“We are concerned,” said Gopee-Scoon, adding that her Ministry was working with the Labour Ministry and other agencies to find out about the conditions under which the workers lived. She noted though that the Chinese labourers worked under contracts with their employer Beijing Liujian and this would have set the terms and conditions under which they lived.