...we don’t want $69-a-day jobs
The people of East Port of Spain do not want mediocre $69-a-day jobs.
They want sustainable employment that can break the cycle of poverty and crime.
This was stated by leader of the New National Vision (NNV) Fuad Abu Bakr who was one of the attendees and spokespersons at a meeting yesterday between Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the people of the area at the South East Port of Spain Secondary School, Nelson Street.
Speaking to the media after he raised concerns of his own at the meeting, Bakr said there was consensus from the people that they wanted sustainable jobs.
“The people were unanimous as well that they don’t just want $69 programmes that belittle them. They don’t want Colour Me Orange temporary programmes that going to last three months and then they back on the breadline,” he said.
He said it was impossible for anyone to live on $69 a day.
Bakr said if these concerns were not addressed then the crime would continue.
“If the Prime Minister can’t give a solution, then I’m sorry to say blood is going to flow in Trinidad and continue to flow, sorry to say,” he said.
Bakr said there were many social issues that needed to be dealt with — the break down of family life, the negative stigma of people living in East Port of Spain, and the vicious dependency cycle though Government programmes such as CEPEP and URP.
He lamented that it was difficult for the people of East Port of Spain to get jobs because of the negative perception of the people from the area.
The people, he said, all complained of the neglect they faced from present and prior governments.
He said if young men were given real opportunities to work and given a chance they would leave a life of crime.
Bakr said a lot of people have lost hope but the Prime Minister’s visit to listen to the people was a good sign.
He said several people pointed out that even the venue for the meeting was in a dilapidated condition and if rain fell, the Prime Minister would get drenched.
Bakr said he was not a resident of the area but he worked with the people through his company which did work with the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) to paint the HDC units.
— Anna Ramdass