|Allegations of corruption at SFCC |
By STACY MOORE Thursday, June 5 2014
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This derelict house on Court Street, San Fernando, was demolished yesterday by the San Fernando City Corporation....
ALLEGATIONS of bribery and corruption coupled with denials took centre stage yesterday as San Fernando Mayor Kazim Hosein called on the city engineer Ramesh Sookdeo to answer to allegations of mass corruption within the walls of the Administration Department of the city’s corporation.
“The first accusation is bribery and corruption in the corporation,” the mayor revealed.
At the time the mayor was speaking to reporters prior to the demolition on an old building along Court Street, San Fernando.
Hosein said since taken office he has received numerous complaints from citizens of the city relating to illegal structures throughout San Fernando and environs. “It is all allegations, but all fingers are pointing to the Engineering department of the corporation,” he told reporters.
Hosein said the bribery and corruption allegations of citizens surround extensions to their houses without plans being approved as well as extensions to buildings without the council’s approval. “There is a process and a law to abide to and it has reached too far. And people have been coming to my office everyday for the last seven months. It has reached an epidemic level,” Hosein lamented. He said only recently a couple came to his office in tears to report claims of their neighbour building on their property. The mayor also made mention of a bar constructed near to a prestigious school in south Trinidad. “How could a bar go up next to a school overnight?” The mayor questioned.
Since the reports of bribery and corruption Hosein said that he started to compile a file with the reports. “I am dealing with it at city corporation level and this is based on complaints from citizens. And at the right time which would be soon I am going to face the administration with this file,” Hosein said.
Adding the mayor said, “So far it is all allegations, but I am going to weigh it out in the next two weeks and if I see no action based on the evidence I have, I would act,” the mayor said.
Hosein said that he together with his supportive council members were going to continue the fight and would not turn a blind eye to any corruption within the Corporation.
Former school principal Gene Bacchus also told reporters that for years he has been complaining about encroachment on his property. Producing documents, Bacchus of Soogrim Street, Gulf View said that his pleas had fallen on deaf ears. “They call your name, sir. They say Ramesh go do for he, meaning me whenever I try to get problem rectified. It is wrong. The whole corruption allegation is not a cesspit in the corporation but a cesspool of corruption,” Bacchus stated.
City engineer, Sookdeo who was also on site said that the accusations against him were only “allegations”.
“It is allegations.”the city engineer told reporters. He said that his office is open to public scrutiny. Adding he said that he also had nothing to hide as there is also a security presence at the corporation which would have been able to detect any corrupt activities occurring.