‘It’s a national disgrace’

While $2 mil­lion has been al­lo­cat­ed for flood re­lief, the sec­re­tary of Fish­er­man and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) Gary Aboud has slammed the gov­ern­ment for spend­ing $89 mil­lion on Pres­i­dent’s House which was “al­ready built and lav­ish­ly fur­nished.”

In a state­ment, Aboud said, “To read that the Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion of T&T has now spent $89 mil­lion to ren­o­vate an al­ready built and fre­quent­ly well main­tained Pres­i­dent’s house is sim­ply an in­sult to our na­tion­al in­tel­li­gence and in­tegri­ty and a slap in the face of all of our suf­fer­ing flood vic­tims.”

He said, “There is no dis­pute and we agree ful­ly with the Pres­i­dent that we need to boost our na­tion­al pride, but with so much suf­fer­ing and pover­ty shouldn’t leg­isla­tive lead­ers be more ac­tive­ly en­gaged in en­sur­ing val­ue for mon­ey…?”

Aboud not­ed, “It is deeply dis­turb­ing that a mere pit­tance of two mil­lion dol­lars has been al­lo­cat­ed for flood re­lief ef­forts by this Prime Min­is­ter while cham­pagne toasts are cel­e­brat­ed on $89 mil­lion shame­less­ly spent on re­pairs to the roof of an al­ready built, well main­tained and lav­ish­ly fur­nished Pres­i­dent’s Res­i­dence. “

Based on es­tab­lished square footage costs by pro­fes­sion­al quan­ti­ty sur­vey­ors, Aboud said three brand new ‘mon­u­ments to boost na­tion­al pride’ or Pres­i­den­tial res­i­dences could have been built and fur­nished for the same $89 mil­lion.”

“Does PM Row­ley care to un­der­stand the dis­as­ter that faces thou­sands of flood vic­tims an­nu­al­ly as a re­sult of the Gov­ern­ment’s poor ur­ban plan­ning, mis­man­age­ment, ne­glect and/or in­abil­i­ty to main­tain in­fra­struc­ture? Does PM Row­ley not un­der­stand that he was elect­ed with the core re­spon­si­bil­i­ty to en­sure that all cit­i­zens are ad­e­quate­ly pro­tect­ed?”

He said the Prime Min­is­ter has a du­ty of care, yet he was fail­ing to pro­tect and safe-guard cit­i­zens while on the oth­er hand, he is cel­e­brat­ing what ap­pears to be a typ­i­cal­ly and ex­ces­sive­ly in­flat­ed $89 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion cost.”

Aboud said T&T will con­tin­ue to suf­fer na­tion­al shame and dis­grace un­til there were lead­ers who can lead our na­tion with a sense of so­cial jus­tice and pub­lic con­science.

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