United People’s (UP) party Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Maurice Lake would like Government to make use of local contractors in the various districts when it comes to district community improvement.
“As a duly elected representative of the people, I have a lot of persons approaching me that are not working, and not much is happening within the districts since I left office as the former Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Minister VROMI) almost three months ago. As an UP MP I am allowed to also be critical of Government, because our one goal together is a better quality of life for all our people.
“As a voice for the local people in Parliament, I have to pass legislation, but also to speak out to create jobs for the local contractors and young professionals on the island. I hear the voice of the people every day about jobs and Government needs to focus on this as well. As the former Minister of VROMI, I also faced a very challenging 2014 budget, but with my Back to Basic skills, I hit the ground running and tried my best to meet the needs of the local people in the different districts, and it was a success.
“I created jobs for local contractors, and worked very closely with the private sector in public/ private partnership projects. I assisted with the purchase of the Emilio Wilson Estate, acquired the land Over the Bank and the Vorst land purchase, with the whole objective and goal to create job opportunities for our people, and housing for those who need a home.
“As I stated during the 2015 budget debate, during my time in office, Government has implemented a program where local contractors are involved in doing different types of work. As a former Minister of VROMI, a term of reference was drafted to tender a two year trench cleaning project to keep local contractors employed so they are able to feed their families. These types of programs are necessary in such a small society as ours.
“We need a more improved Maintenance Plan in the different districts to address the running water on the road and other small maintenance issues such as fallen down signs, pruning of trees so they don’t damage NV GEBE low and high tensions lines, and cleaning recreational areas throughout the districts. I must commend the Ministry of VROMI with continuing to meet with the different Community Councils in the different districts, but there must be a plan of action from the ministry site inspectors with timeframes from the Ministry to address these urgent issues. Maintenance of the small simple things makes a big difference in the districts.
“As a community-minded person, some of the residents also have to take some pride and respect their neighbours within the community, and stop running the water within their district and start working along with their community council to find solutions. Government has their part to do but as a community we got to do our part and instil pride, respect and togetherness to make our districts cleaner and safer for everyone to enjoy as a community.
“This is the time we need to start to create job opportunities for our local contractors and young professionals in the different districts. We have a lot of young people unemployed, and we need to address this as soon as possible, and get away from the myth that our young people don’t want to work. I have seen our young people clean with pride within the districts and also work in top positions in the public and private sectors, once given the opportunity. This is one issue I championed during the past parliamentary election campaign, and is a top priority for me as an MP.
“In closing, our country is top in the Caribbean in a lot of areas, but it is high time that Government and Parliament start empowering our local people to be tops where it concerns jobs and other relevant areas in the country,” MP Hon. Maurice Lake said on Sunday.