Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 30th 2014 Contents interview
www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 2014
with Clevon Raphael
NATURAL FERTILITY REGULATION
Simple, Highly Effective, No Drugs or Devices
Q : Mr Mangaroo, this con-
cept of self-help, isn t it a
rather convoluted system
of a type of dependency syndrome?
A : (At the Abercromby Street,
Port-of-Spain, head office
of the National Commission
For Self Help Ltd...and vigorously
protesting) No. No. This concept is to
encourage people to do things on their
own with assistance from the relevant
While I cannot give you an accurate
figure of how many individuals, groups
and organisations we have assisted
over the last 27 years, what I can tell
you is what we have done since the
advent of my tenure in October 2010.
We have done quite a number of proj-
ects throughout T&T...all 41 con-
Specifically what kind of groups
and organisations is the commission
mandated to assist?
We do faith-based organisations:
churches, temples, mandirs, and indi-
viduals with building materials and
they would provide the labour com-
ponent. Technical features like plumb-
ing and electrical we also undertake.
Let s say that someone like Paras
Ramoutar (communications adviser
to Mr Mangaroo, who sat in on the
interview) would like to get some
assistance for whatever reason, what s
the procedure he has to undergo?
Well, it depends on what he wants.
We have an application form for minor
repairs and we do give an average of
2,000 of those grants per annum.
When I assumed office, our subvention
was just $35 million per year. We are
not an income-making entity, we are
dependent on the Government for our
Last year, our budget was increased
to $60 million, but I can also tell you
that we could do with more "donzai"
to improve on our delivery to a larger
number of people. Based on the limited
resources we try to stretch our dollar.
Does this include the rental of this
building, and how much is that fig-
About $75,000 a month. We do not
own any property apart from the
equipment in this building.
Have any smart men or women,
ever attempted to hoodwink you all
by making false claims?
(Shrugging his shoulders) Well, yes.
You do get that every so often...
Some people try to get a grant in
the name of the head of the home,
mainly the father, then one year later
we see an application coming in the
name of the mother (laughs). But we
are able to track those things and mer-
cifully that is not a serious problem at
Corporate T&T must do more
...to help deal with poverty
T&T still has a lot of poverty and the corporate
sector must do a little more to help deal with
This is the view of SURUJDEO MANGAROO,
chairman of the National Commission For Self
Help Ltd, who said he was saddened by the fact
that some people still use latrines.
In explaining the progress made by the
commission over the last 27 years, Mangaroo
admitted that some smart men and women try
to con the commission by submitting bogus
Our officers have been in the
field for a number of years now
and they are quite able to detect
such unsavoury conduct wherever
and whenever they crop up.
Because of the vigilance of our
officers assigned to the various
constituencies, they are able to
detect smart men and women as
you have described them. They
cannot succeed. They cannot suc-
Is it possible that your com-
mission duplicates the work per-
formed by the Ministry of the
I don t think so. If there is any,
it would just be with the housing
grant. But still, we do not give a
cheque to individuals. They have
to produce an estimate and the
lowest estimate is accepted, and
we make sure that the materials
ordered are being used for the
Has it been your experience,
Mr Mangaroo, that there are any
areas in the country more in need
of the commission s services
more than others...Caroni,
We do a lot of projects in the
Diego Martin, Morvant areas,
Laventille as well, and we need to
empower a lot of these people in
rural areas but we don t have the
resources and training to do that
kind of work. We have a hydro-
ponics project in Maracas, St
Joseph; we did one in (Sangre)
Grande and some other districts.
If you had to identify a partic-
ular area or areas which are in
need of the commission s work
but because of inadequate fund-
ing you are unable to do so, what
areas these would be?
I do not want to single out any
community but yes, we still have
a lot of poor people in this country
and I feel we should do better,
and corporate Trinidad needs to
Continues on Page A11
chairman of the National
Commission For Self Help Ltd.
PHOTOS: KEITH MATTHEWS
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