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T&T in terrible neglect after 61 years

AT THE age of 48, in 1999, I got my own apartment from the then National Housing Authority (NHA) in a beautiful development in Morvant, which was sold to me. I was overjoyed to pay for my own property with funding from TTMF (Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company Ltd), instead of rent.

In 2000, I moved in with my family. This was subsidised housing and sold at a reasonable price then. There was a general meeting at TTMF and all recipients were told that we have to take care of the property and form our own management company. Those who were homeowners got together and formed a management company and took care of the property, and for the first year, NHA was easily accessible. After 2002, the NHA/HDC (Housing Development Corporation), from that time to now, has not paid any attention to the development.

I paid off for this unit the same year I retired and felt so proud of myself. In so doing, in the development of 48 apartments, only 33 persons were actual homeowners. The maintenance fee is $150 per month, from that time to present. The other 15 tenants who paid a rent to NHA/ HDC live happily doing their own thing; they do not pay the maintenance fee, neither does HDC pay it to the management company, and HDC ignores everyone. There are problems with the management and HDC. To date, the beautiful development is going downhill, it is neglected, there is blatant disorder and people are afraid of their own people.

After I retired, I met an interesting partner who took me to his country for three months for the past ten years. I was blown away every time I visited that country, which was built over water. I visited Holland, France and Germany where I saw highways which were built over rivers, and wheat and agriculture on flat land everywhere. I saw hot houses where agriculture was also produced in order to create tonnes of food for their people. I saw masses of cows and dairy products were produced in all varieties and sold in the supermarkets.

The vegetables and provisions were fairly inexpensive and plentiful in the supermarkets. The flowers and fruits were also in abundance. The vegetables were plentiful and always sold and packaged in perfection when sold, but tasted nothing like ours here in Trinidad. Vegetables and seasonings from our country are far more superior in terms of taste and quality.

The general condition of the places were always well maintained, trees are well trimmed. Their property taxes and general taxes are pretty hefty, but it takes care of social welfare, garbage, roadworks, schools, mentally disabled people, displaced people-absolutely everything.

On Sunday, I took a tour to Matelot with the National Trust of T&T and saw for myself the neglect of the roadways and of those areas. Driving through the Valencia stretch, Toco Main Road and Paria Main Road, the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea is such an exceptional site that if these areas (among others) are developed by the people in charge of our country, the tourism industry will attract rich people from all over the world to visit and enjoy the purity of our territory. We all belong to this island and we cannot keep dancing with our heads in the sand.

All roads must be repaired and signs must be installed across Trinidad and Tobago before any form of tourism can take place. All businesses which sell food and drinks must be checked by inspectors to ensure they follow the rules of sanitation. All vagrants must be attended to in the capital city. All dilapidated buildings must be torn down or cleaned up. Old bush must be cut down and cleared away.

All walls in the capital city should be power-washed and painted. All pavements must be repaired and all manhole covers lifted to the level of the pavements. Our people want to work, pay the people to work. Not another Carnival should take place without the roads being repaired. Plant trees along the highways and roadways and maintain them.

After 61 years, our country is terribly neglected from the lack of maintenance in every part of Trinidad and Tobago. No online work from home can repair our country. Pay attention to poor and neglected citizens. Put all the right medicines in hospital pharmacies and health centres so people can have access to good health care.

There is a brand new Ministry of Health building, now is the time for the Minister of Health to think about creating universal health care in Trinidad and Tobago. Check out how it is done in Europe. Do not neglect your population, you have made many promises, especially with the recent local government election; do not disappoint the population. I love my country, there is no place like Trinidad and Tobago; let it not be spoken about in a negative way across other parts of the world.

Caroline Williams Morvant

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