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Voting pattern not weighed in North Grove process: Camille

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Voting patterns are never considered when the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) selects a site for a housing development, acting Housing Minister Camille Robinson-Regis says.

She made the comment as she dismissed claims that the proposed North Grove housing community in Curepe is being built as a way of facilitating voter padding in the marginal constituency, dispelling too what she said were “many inaccurate and sensational statements” appearing in the media about the proposed development.

Former food production minister Devant Maharaj in a release posted on the opposition United National Congress’ (UNC) website, had claimed the “flagging support” for the People’s National Movement in the St Joseph constituency was one of the “driving factors” behind the North Grove development, as it is hoped “the new addition of voters will secure the PNM in the next general election.”

But Robinson-Regis said this was not the case as the area was chosen because it was “quite necessary.”

“In the conceptualisation, planning and execution of any housing site for development, the HDC does not consider the voting patterns in general or other elections. The HDC considers the demand, supply and availability of land for the development of affordable housing construction,” she said.

“In fact, empirical data shows that more than 50 per cent of the applicants on the housing database have expressed a strong preference for housing along the East-West region of Trinidad. It is for this reason that, over the past few years, the HDC has focused on completing construction of its housing developments located along this part of Trinidad. These include River Runs Through, Arima; Trestrail, D’abadie; Bon Air, Malabar, Real Spring, Valsayn; and even Vieux Fort, St. James. The decision therefore to approach the government for assistance in acquiring land along the East-West corridor for another housing development, was inevitable and quite necessary.”

She also sought to deny claims that agricultural nurseries in St Augustine would be affected by the development.

“The proposed North Grove does not interfere with the St Augustine Nurseries and that plant propagation station will continue to provide ornamental and non-ornamental plants to farmers and other persons.”



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