Housing Minister appoints Board to improve SILWC communities
On Monday August 28, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Randall Mitchell presented instruments of appointment to the new Board of the Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Committee (SILWC), an entity of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. The new Board, chaired by attorney-at-law, Dane L. Halls has been given the task to urgently treat with the many outstanding matters which are before it. Other members of the Board are John Jaglal, Vinda Maharaj, Fedel Sherwin Adonis and Hinni Maraj.
SILWC was formally established by Act No 64:05 of 1951 to control and administer the Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Fund to Caroni workers and to provide proper housing solutions for sugar workers and cane farmers. Over time, its focus has shifted to include the improvement of housing for persons who were involved in the sugar industry. The Board of SILWC is responsible for giving effect to deeds of lease, deeds of surrender, memoranda of satisfaction, tenancy agreements and licences, assignment of boundaries and re-definition of boundaries in SILWC communities. The Board is also solely responsible for disbursements from the Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Fund, which is used to execute infrastructural projects in housing developments under its remit.
In his brief remarks to the Board, Minister Mitchell thanked the members for offering themselves for public service and reminded them that their remit is aligned to the overall policy direction of the Ministry which seeks to “improve the living conditions of citizens.” In underscoring the considerable delay in finalising the new Board, he urged them to always remember that their mandate affects people’s livelihoods and well-being, therefore they should not delay in addressing all matters.
In the absence of a Board, many residents in SILWC communities were unable to apply for and access loans and many communities were left in severe need of infrastructural upgrades.
SILWC is considered one of the largest land owners in Trinidad and Tobago, having in it possessions twenty-four housing developments stretching from Macoya in the East to La Gloria in South. Since its inception, SILWC has assisted in the construction of approximately fourteen thousand homes.