Kamla praises unlocked HDC building left untouched
Hands over keys to new apartments in 'Hell Yard'
A brand-new Housing Development Corporation (HDC) apartment building that remained untouched for three months in Hell Yard, Beetham, has left Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar impressed.
The money saved by the HDC in security costs will now be invested in the community, Persad-Bissessar announced yesterday.
Persad-Bissessar was speaking at a ceremony to present new tenants with keys to their apartments and to turn the sod for a similar development phase on 23rd Street.
The prime minister said the HDC spends up to $36 million annually to secure its properties around the country, whereas an unlocked apartment building in one of the country's most maligned communities has remained intact.
The building was completed three months ago, ahead of schedule and ahead of the utilities portion of the construction, Persad-Bissessar said.
For those three months, the building remained unsecured and the apartments unlocked, yet nothing was stolen or damaged.
"Nothing had been touched," Persad-Bissessar said, adding the building had not fallen victim to envy among neighbours but had been preserved through people being happy for each other.
"There is a message in this for all of Trinidad and Tobago. This gives me a message of hope," she said.
Persad-Bissessar said she preferred the name "Hope's Yard" to the current "Hell Yard".
The HDC spends up to $500,000 per month on security, Persad-Bissessar said, adding: "Yet apartments here were secured at no cost to the HDC."
The money saved will come to the community in others ways, she said, through programmes that uplift and educate.
"I have asked the Minister of National Security to invest that money into the community," Persad-Bissessar said.
"Imagine what that money can do for your community."
National Security Minister Jack Warner, in a brief address, invited the community to join him in the fight against crime.
"I alone cannot do it," Warner said.
He also assured residents that social programmes would not be removed from their community but rather would be enhanced.
Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, Social Development Minister Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, Senator James Lambert and HDC CEO Jearlean John were also present.
John said she was impressed with the people she met in the community, whom she described as some of the most "hard-working" she had ever met.
The HDC yesterday presented the first part of a report on its work in Beetham to Persad-Bissessar, who John said had mandated that no citizen of T&T be left behind.