The Penal/Debe Regional Corporation (PDRC) says it has been starved of funding, having only received 55% of the promised stipend for 2022, and facing neglect, flooding and unemployment as a result.
Board members, led by Chairman Dr Allen Sammy, yesterday held a press conference at the company’s grounds in Penal to address what they described as the company’s “squeeze” caused by the lack central government announcements.
Speaking at the conference, Sammy said that without adequate resources, the company has been unable to maintain the recreation grounds, provide adequate flood assistance or maintain the 99 courtyards. of water that inhabit the region.
Severe flooding in the constituency was seen on Monday afternoon, he said. However, he said, the company had few resources to help those affected.
He said he requested a transfer from the Ministry of Local Government in July this year. To date, he said, no funding has been received. He called on local government minister Faris Al-Rawi to intervene.
“Yesterday we had severe flooding in Penal/Debe and many houses and institutions have asked for help, and we are not able to provide it just because we have no manpower. . We have 99 streams, as I pointed out, and I pointed out last week that there are 632 roadside streams, and of course they flow into the mainstream of the Papourie river and the Oropouche river which is the main watercourse. Both rivers flow into the Atlantic and along these rivers there is severe flooding,” he said.
“I asked the minister on July 19 for a wire transfer of $1.1 million and the minister went on national television and pointed out to me that there was something called a wire transfer. is after i wrote to the prime minister in january asking for diesel clearances we saw no diesel releases between october and january this year i had to write to the prime minister and it irritated the local government minister, and he said there was something called wire transfers, we asked for a wire transfer of $1.1 million to help with the flooding in the Penal/Debe area It has been 41 days to date and no money has materialized and in the meantime we have not been able to hire people to help with the clean up operations,” Sammy said yesterday.
According to board finance chairman Roland Hall, the company remains underfunded across several department heads, having only received a percentage of promised allocations.
“If they don’t release those funds, we’re stuck here. You will see the public fighting against their advisors and members. They don’t do that, they don’t fix roads, they don’t employ people. The reason is that they don’t release the money for us,” Hall said.
With markets and arbitrators in place, he said, the company had only received $5,000 of its promised allocation of $40,000. As part of the state’s record keeping, he said the company had only received 43% of the promised allocation. For vehicle maintenance, he said, the company received $135,000 of the promised $300,000.
“They haven’t released the funds and when they don’t release the funds we can’t employ people. How could we be happy at Penal/Debe? They’re depriving you of funding… You’ve seen the president begging for funding. The contractors say they can’t give us things because you have to pay us, and if you don’t pay us, we won’t give you all cement, steel or gravel. It is painful for us here as council members,” he said.
A number of other councilors spoke at the conference, all calling for central government action.
Debe South councilor Khemraj Seecharan said there was a lack of short-term workers, as “geographical discrimination” had left vulnerable people in his district stranded in severe flooding.
“Last night we saw the South Oropouche River once again rise from its banks. Just as other councilors would have mentioned before, there is no release. There is a bourgeoise, Mrs. Rosa, who is 87 years old, who called me this morning, begging someone to come and help me… We have no releases and no temp workers to go and help these elderly people,” he said. added. said.