PM spends 2 ½ hours in East PoS
Anna Ramdass firstname.lastname@example.org
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday spent two and a half hours listening to the woes of the people of East Port of Spain.
Their main cries were for better jobs and housing.
Persad-Bissessar met with a large number of residents from the area at the South East Port of Spain Secondary School, Nelson Street.
She was accompanied by Minister of National Security Emmanuel George and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Rodger Samuel.
Persad-Bissessar arrived just before 2 p.m. and left around 4.30 p.m.
The meeting was closed off to the media but residents were emotional and loudly voiced their concerns and complaints. There was also applause from the people.
The Prime Minister spoke to the media briefly after exiting the meeting, saying that she listened to the people and there were many more who still wanted to speak so she left Samuel to continue listening to their concerns.
“The main issue that arose were two things really, housing and matters relating to jobs....,” said Persad-Bissessar.
“Very few people actually spoke about crime per se but these are the social issues I believe which surround the forces of crime in the area, jobs and housing, those were the two main things,” she added.
The Prime Minister said a team from the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) was at the meeting who were talking to those who raised issues with respect to housing.
This was the Prime Minister’s second visit to East Port of Spain within the few days.
Last Thursday Persad-Bissessar visited Duncan Street following a spate of killings in the area which claimed the life of a 16-year-old who was pregnant.
The Prime Minister said that a police post would be established at a HDC site on Duncan Street as well as a computer centre for children.
Since the murders there has been an increased police and army presence in the area.
Persad-Bissessar yesterday praised the police and the army, saying their efforts have put an end to the violence “to a certain extent”.
Questioned on the release of a large number of people who were held by the police following a crack down exercise in East Port of Spain on Sunday, Persad-Bissessar noted that there were some issues as it related to the police operation but said she could not comment further as she did not get the brief on the matter.
The issue, she said, will be discussed at her meeting with Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley today at 3.30 p.m.
Today will be the second meeting between the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader.
The two met last Friday at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, at Rowley’s request to discuss the crime situation.
In a joint release, Persad-Bissessar and Rowley stated that their second meeting today will focus on “taking immediate, responsive action to treat with the causative factors specially related to the problems that have arisen in the last week”.
Both leaders stated that there was agreement to collaborate on any amendment or adjustment to any existing or new laws with respect to the challenges posed by the crime situation.
They also agreed to implement legislative measures to deal with the issues of gangs, witness protection and witness tampering.
There was further agreement that the Government and Opposition will work together to untangle the hurdles which would give effect to the death penalty and consideration will also be given to new laws, such as creating a new offence regarding the displacement of residents by criminals.