The $4.5 million that has been spent on the family day for warring Laventille communities at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, today is a small price to pay for the results that will be achieved, said Minister of National Security Jack Warner.
Speaking with the media on the issue yesterday at the Edinburgh 500 Recreation Ground, Chaguanas, Warner, who dismissed concerns that the $4.5 million could have been put to better use, said he does not judge what they do by the amount of money spent, but by the outcome and by the output achieved.
"In this country, you have people who if you give them a bouquet they will say is a reed, if you give them champagne they will say is pitch oil. Therefore I am not too bothered... we spent that money on a programme for the Laventille and environs communities of Sea Lots and Beetham to bring the communities together and if through the programme we have saved one life, two lives, it would have been well invested," he said.
"And we have achieved by bringing the people together for the first time in years. They have not played together, worked together or even spoken to each other and that is happening, and the outcome therefore is to bring the community together and $4.5 million I think is a small price to pay for that."
Asked about the proposed nine per cent salary increase for members of the Police Service, Warner said he would do all in his power to ensure members of both the Police Service and the Defence Force receive their salary increase for Christmas.
"I had made an offer to them some three, four months ago, which they rejected. Three months later they have accepted it. If they had accepted it before that may have been possible. Right now, I think they will have to work night and day to make it possible. But everything I can do to make it possible for them to have it by then I will.
"That goes for the Defence Force also. These guys have had no increase for 2007, they put their lives at risk and I think, if it means we have to go extra hours to give them this money for Christmas, we should. And the Minister of Finance, Larry Howai, is receptive to the idea," he said.