Housing is a sensitive issue. Talk about state housing and who has access to it and see tempers flare.
This morning Trinidad Express star reporter Renuka Singh reported that the government had secretly handed over keys to three Members of Parliament who are all from Tobago. The implications, according to an alleged insider, are that a secret deal occurred to allow these Members to have access to housing stock that should be off limits.
The story even went so far as to identify the units the members had been allocated – a clear breach on personal safety and security.
#NEWSAUCE reached out to Minister of Housing Randall Mitchell and was told the following:
“The government has responded to Miss Singh on this very issue in the past. We are also on record in Parliament responding to questions about these townhouses to Dr Moonilal. The units at Victoria Keyes are allocated as follows: 10 for Government use, 48 as Rent To Own and the rest are for sale on the open market.
You will notice that what the three persons named have in common is that they are from Tobago. The government provides housing for members from Tobago. In the past we have provided that housing at Flagstaff or at Federation Villas, but those two locations are due for repairs, so we have taken the decision to use some of the 10 apartments carded for government use to house the Members.”
The Minister added that the Members would have use of those townhouses until they were no longer government representatives and they are currently not in receipt of their housing allowance now that they are in state housing.
The remuneration packages for MPs from Tobago are also clearly outlined in law under SRC recommendations and are as follows: