MINISTER of Local Government Dr Surujrattan Rambachan said he would like his Ministry to be awarded more funding, given its capacity, in the upcoming national budget.
"You have to look at the capacity of Local Government to carry out a certain amount of work and while you develop the human capital to develop more work you have to deal with what you have at the moment.
"Given what I have been told by the chairman (of the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation) they are going to complete 98 per cent of their projects in terms of budget allocation, so there might be scope for expansion," Rambachan said when asked yesterday if he wanted more funding.
The Minister was at the time responding to members of the media at a meeting with the San Juan/ Laventille Regional Corporation at the Maintenance, Training and Security (MTS) Plaza, Aranjuez Main Road.
Apart from the fiscal hopes, Rambachan said the time has come for the powers that be, namely Local Government, to get tough on those who break the building codes.
"I think we have to get tough with the violation of building codes. You saw what happened in Diego Martin (on August 11). With the expansion of Local Government, we cannot be given authority and power and not carrying out the letter of the law. We have to be very proactive and that is one area we can start," Rambachan said.
Adding to what was said, San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation chairman Nafeesa Mohammed reported that in the last year several businesses had been broken down as the corporation has taken a more stringent approach to the violation of the building codes.
"We are pursuing a very vigorous enforcement programme through our building committee. There are so many buildings that have been erected. As you know when people have solid, liquid cash they will build without going through the process of getting Town and Country approval," Mohammed said.
She added this was one of the problems faced in her region where pristine agricultural lands were turned into residential areas.
Both officials spoke on the issue of garbage collecting in the boundaries of the corporation, with Mohammed saying that there have been instances in the past where police officers had to escort garbage collectors at Beetham Gardens.
She added that the long weekend hampered the collecting of garbage, which Rambachan said was inexcusable as he is trying to develop "clean communities and stronger councils to ensure that people get better quality services".
Asked what came out of the meeting with the corporation, Rambachan said he learned there was a problem of homeless migration from Port of Spain to San Juan, traffic and drainage needed to be addressed, along with flooding in the area.
He added that the San Juan market will be completed by December.
Rambachan said yesterday's meeting followed similar meetings he had in other burgesses in Arima, Penal/Debe, San Fernando and Princes Town to find out about the internal working of their corporations and how employees are thinking about the conditions that they are working under.
The Minister said in all his meetings, the two major concerns he faced were drainage and poor roads.