PM Rowley Highlights Outcome Of 2 Day Government Retreat At Media Conference


PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (GISL) — Upon completion of the two (2) day Government retreat, Prime Minister Dr. Rowley hosted a media conference on January 4 at the Diplomatic Centre, St. Ann’s.

During the conference, Prime Minister Rowley stated that the main reason for the retreat was to focus and streamline the development programmes and activities to be undertaken by ministries in 2017.

The retreat featured an organised reporting by Permanent Secretaries of various Ministries to provide a thorough overview of what is taking place throughout the Government.

The Cabinet also met in caucus where a number of decisions were made.

For example, with respect to the Ministry of National Security, it was reiterated that the country’s best response to the criminal element is to have a well-organised and well-equipped police service as, one of the major failings of the police service is the inability to get on top of crime as reflected in low rates of detection and lack of crime suppression.

As a result, a manpower audit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) will be undertaken. A committee of eight (8) individuals, chaired by Professor Ramesh Deosaran, is expected to report on March 31st 2017 on the findings of this audit.

Additionally, a number of decisions were made regarding programmes to be undertaken by the Ministry of Health. Firstly, an evaluation committee to review proposals regarding the management of the recently constructed Couva facility has been named.

The Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) on behalf of the Ministry of Health, has procured proposals for a public-private partnership to manage the facility. These proposals have been passed on to the Ministry of Planning under which the evaluating committee will be operating. Former permanent secretary, Ms. Allison Lewis, will lead the team.

Secondly, a site has also been chosen for a new hospital in Sangre Grande and the respective processes toward achieving this are underway. Thirdly, the Government is also set to review the government to government arrangements which determine the proposed construction of hospitals in Arima and Pt Fortin.

A committee has also been established evaluate proposals submitted to construct a high class hotel at the present site of the Ministry of Agriculture at the Queen’s Park Savannah. The ministry is to be relocated to Chaguanas. This committee will be chaired by Mr. Imtiaz Ahamad.

With respect to infrastructural projects, it was stated that the construction of the highway to Point Fortin will be resumed shortly. Tenders will be invited in January and segments will be awarded to various contractors to facilitate greater involvement of local contractors.

As it pertains to the highway to Toco, it must be noted that the Government is currently doing designs and tenders will be invited in a matter of months. Tenders will also be invited for the portion of the Cumuto/Manzanilla highway that has already been designed. Subsequently, tenders will be invited for the design and construction of the various remaining sections.

In addition, Dr. Rowley indicated that the future management of the NAPA and SAPA buildings is to be based on the Queen’s Hall model. Cabinet will soon determine the manner in which the Stollmeyer’s Castle will be utilised once restored and it is expected that the Red House will be restored by October 2018.

Prime Minister Rowley also announced that the Minister of Finance will issue a circular memorandum to the management of all organisations in the state enterprise sector on Thursday 5th January, 2017. This memorandum outlines that corporation sole will require all managers to submit financial reports, audited or not, and account for financial decisions made.

The Prime Minister also indicated that as a matter of urgency all government ministries must ready themselves to comply with the new Procurement Legislation which is targeted to be assented to by March 31st 2017.

Photo: Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. the Honourable Keith Christopher Rowley addresses the media during yesterday’s media conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St. Ann’s.