That’s the vew of at least two southern business leaders who also noted that the nation was not getting value for money despite the massive sums being allocated to a variety of projects. President of the Penal/Debe Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Sahid Hosein, in a telephone interview yesterday, said the Chamber had already submitted its proposals to its parliamentary representative. However, he predicts that next year’s budget would be a “gargantuan” amount.
“Next year is an election year, so we, as a nation, can expect a splurge,” Hosein said, adding, “For the past few years, our budgets have been huge and I do not expect this trend to stop given what will occur next year.
“But we are not getting value for money,” he said, adding, “what we are getting instead are over-priced projects and it seems as if we are intent on throwing away our resources. “And I am very concerned about the kind of future we are laying for the next generation,” he said. Meanwhile, president of the Point Fortin South Western Chamber, Ricardo Joseph said although the Chamber had not submitted any proposals, it was expecting a “sweetheart” budget which would seek to “woo” voters to the ruling administration.
“But we also expect a continuation of the construction of the Point Fortin highway and the start of construction of the Point Fortin hospital,” Joseph said, though he noted that the Chamber would also like to see the re-establishment of the e-tech park as the site allocated for the park had now been set aside for the hospital.
“We would also like to see the extension of the sea transportation hub to Point Fortin because this will also go a long way to alleviate the hardships of persons who live in Point Fortin but have to travel to Port-of-Spain on a regular basis,” he said. He said the Chamber was also expecting infrastructural developments in the area of sport and culture within the deep south borough.
Also adding her voice was president of the Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Lily Herai, who expressed optimism that the central region would be given more resources in the fight against crime and to stimulate the agricultural sector.
“The Couva police station serves 22 communities and from what I understand, it is at the same strength as it was ten years ago and we are hoping that manpower and other resources are given to it,” Herai said, adding the anti-crime measures should also include the installation of CCTV cameras.
“The agricultural sector should also be given attention because farmers are constantly talking about the lack of incentives and the shortages of labour, so we are hopeful these two areas, crime and agriculture are adequately addressed,” she said.