Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 25th 2013 Contents A14
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt August 25, 2013
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Education Minister Dr Tim
Gopeesingh has lashed out at critics
who claim that under the People s
Partnership the construction sector
"It has been tremendously active.
There has been a lot of work in the
construction sector...all the Cabinet
notes that have passed and the amount
of work that we have been doing. We
might not have been telling the pop-
ulation all the things that we have
done," he told Sunday Guardian.
Dr Gopeesingh said, "Within the
next six months, we would have com-
pleted over 80 early childhood centres;
completed 13 primary schools and 14
are under way. We are completing
another eight secondary schools."
It was for this reason, he said, the
Education Ministry will seek $1.5 billion
from the Finance Ministry in the
upcoming 2013-2014 budget to com-
plete existing programmes, as well as
roll-out new projects under the Public
Sector Investment Programme (PSIP).
The figure being requested has been
revised upward by $350 million from
the ministry s expenditure for the period
Gopeesingh described the number
of school construction programmes
under the PSIP as "massive" and said
the $700 million in last year s budget
was almost used up for this year.
"From next year, we have almost 15
more early childhood centres (to build)
and we are looking to construct 47 pri-
mary schools. We have identified the
schools already and then we have to
complete a number of the secondary
schools as well. There are about seven
schools that need science blocks,"
His Cabinet colleague Winston
"Gypsy" Peters said the Ministry of
Community Development is approving
two new designs for 24 community
centres to be built across the country.
He said the allocation to Community
Development was $800 million.
Asked if that was enough, Peters
Peters said, "We can t get everything
that we ask for because we are operating
under a certain amount of constraint,
but the fact remains that we have to
work with whatever we get and that is
Gopeesingh said, "I m sure we
wouldn t get all that amount of money.
Last year, the PSIP was $700 million.
This year, we are asking for $1.5 billion
which we know we cannot get, but if
we get a substantial part of that we
will be very happy."
Gopeesingh, laughing, said Howai
brought his banking practices into the
Finance Ministry which was good for
accountability and transparency.
"We don t interfere with the Minister
of Finance s work," he said. "We can
only do what we have to do. We don t
want the country to move between a
debt-to-GDP ratio that is excessive
and, therefore, he has his constraints
to operate with and we work with him."
Looking ahead to the September 9
budget presentation, he said, "We are
a Government that manages for the
present, the medium term and the long
term. Whatever economic develop-
ments taking place in the country, it s
development in the context of sustain-
able development and human capital
"The Government always has as its
priority the people and how we can
improve the lives of people. Crime,
health, education, transportation,
employment, all these areas are high
on the agenda.
"We are guided by what the people
have been saying as well, moving to
the future: what it is that they feel we
have been doing well, what it is we
have not been doing as well as we
should. We are there to deliver for the
"The (by) election in Chaguanas West
must have given us an eye-opener in
a number of areas. As members of Par-
liament, we need to work harder in our
constituencies. We are on the move to
regaining Government in the next term.
We just have to work a little smarter
and keep together."
Two reporters from the China
Daily Newspaper interviewed
Minister of Public Utilities Hon-
ourable Nizam Baksh on issues
related to the utility sector and
future projects of the Ministry
of Public Utilities and its agen-
Information from the interview
will be incorporated into a com-
prehensive report on the strategic
co-operative ties between T&T
and the People s Republic of
China to be published in Novem-
ber when Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar is expected to
visit China and open the T&T
Also present at the interview
were the permanent secretary of
the Ministry of Public Utilities,
Margaret Farray, and the general
manager of T&TEC, Kelvin Ram-
Minister interviewed by China Daily
From left, Maria Cupo, reporter, China Daily; Nizam Baksh, Minister of Public Utilities; Margaret Farray,
permanent secretary; and Kevin Widdop, reporter, China Daily.
Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh
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