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.