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$75M spent on Colour Me Orange

By ANDRE BAGOO Wednesday, July 16 2014

BETWEEN March 2010 and February 2012, the State spent $75.5 million on the “Colour Me Orange” make-work programme, Government Whip in the Senate Ganga Singh revealed in the Upper House yesterday.

Singh gave a summary break-down of expenditure during Senate Question Time in response to queries filed by Camille Robinson-Regis, the Opposition Whip. The time-line for the figures suggested the programme straddled both the PNM and PP administrations.

Singh said that for the period March 8, 2010 to June 30, 2010, $3.6 million was spent on unspecified “materials”; $1.4 million on unspecified “equipment” and $5.4 million on salaries, for a total for that period of $10.5 million. In this period, he said, the programme employed 438 persons, though terms of employment were not specified.

For the period November 3, 2010 to December 29, 2010, $2.4 million was spent on materials; $523,495.37 on equipment and $12.2 million on salaries for a total of $15.3 million. The programme in this period employed 635.

From November 23, 2011 to February 15, 2012, materials cost $1.9 million; equipment $72,914 and salaries $45.6 million, bringing the total to $47.7 million. The programme employed 1,980 during this period.

Singh outlined further unspecified expenses which he broke down separately from these figures without explanation. The Government Whip, who was answering questions on behalf of Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, was not able to give detailed responses to supplemental questions posed by Robinson-Regis and Stuart Young, a temporary PNM Senator.

Singh said the programme, “provided employment and developmental opportunities for residents of the Housing Development Corporation’s communities of Port-of-Spain East; Port-of-Spain West; Port-of-Spain Central; Morvant; Maloney; Couva and San Fernando.”

The Government Whip said the programme was meant, “to assist in the upkeep and maintenance of buildings and properties in a meaningful and practical way.”

He said it boosted the HDC’s work force. He said the programme also fed into a long-term goal.

“It is expected that the Colour Me Orange participants, having gained practical work experience, coupled with training, will find meaningful work in this period of activity,” Singh said.

“The HDC firmly believes that the cadre of skilled graduates of the Colour Me Orange participants are the future artisans, administrators, architects of this massive East Port-of-Spain project.”

Singh further stated, “The Colour Me Orange programmes were replete with ambitious men and women who would have had the opportunity to start off as a labourer or lower level categorisation of skill, and it was envisioned that having undergone training in the CMO programme, they could now be co-opted to any national training agency or institution and eventually receive accreditation. These are the men and women who we foresee will assist in the rebuilding of East Port-of-Spain,” Singh said.

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