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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Correction to an article in Saturday’s edition of the Trinidad Express

Dear Editor,

I wish to thank you for publishing my response to a question posed by Oropouche East Member of Parliament, Dr. Roodal Moonilal in Friday’s sitting of the House of Representatives. However, the article, which appeared in Saturday’s Express, titled “HDC tenants, owners can apply for aid”, contained some inaccuracies which must be highlighted in order to prevent misinformation in the public domain. The article states that “Housing Development Corporation tenants and homeowners whose houses have been damaged by Tropical Storm Bret can apply to the HDC for financial aid. The HDC has an Emergency Shelter Relief Grant for this purpose.” However, this is not what I stated in my response to the Member’s question.

In my response, I stated that “this grant (Emergency Shelter Relief Grant) is given to members of the public to conduct emergency repairs to housing units.” To further clarify, this grant is not intended for occupants of rental units in HDC properties as was alluded to in your article; these units are maintained by the HDC.  Secondly, to be considered for the grant, applicants must provide a copy of a national identification card or birth certificate; letter addressed to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development; photographs (if possible) or copy of the Damage Assessment Form from the Disaster Management Unit of the Regional Corporation and evidence of property ownership eg Deed of Affidavit of Declaration. The value of the grant is $15,000 and the Ministry will process, approve and distribute grants based on the severity of the damage that was experienced. As this grant is intended for persons who would have fallen victim to a natural or man-made hazard, the Ministry makes every effort to expedite the process in order to bring timely relief.

My response therefore to the Opposition MP’s question focused mainly on the efforts of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and this specific grant which is in place to provide relief to those who have been negatively impacted.

Thank you in advance for making the necessary correction and I do hope that the correction will be given the same prominence so that citizens will not be confused by the inaccuracies which were stated in the previous article.

Randall Mitchell,

Minister of Housing and Urban Development

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