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Jul 28, 2009

…And claims its spot on Housing Committee

Story PictureStill on the N.T.U.C.B., it wrote letters earlier this month to the Minister of Housing, Michael Finnegan and to PM Barrow regarding placement on two committees. That sparked Finnegan’s ire because the umbrella organization was invited to be a part of both the Venezuelan Housing Committee from early in the year and according to Finnegan on Monday night, they refused. This afternoon, the Union’s General Secretary, Javier Roberts, said there were several issues that had to be addressed before taking part in the oversight committee. And though those concerns were addressed, the ten unions under N.T.U.C.B. had to reach a consensus on how to proceed. But Roberts says the group has always been willing and it hopes to take its rightful place on the committees.

Javier Roberts, Gen. Secretary, N.T.U.C.B.
“On the twenty-third of July we had finalized our recommendations and we submitted it to the ministry and that is when the minister made his comments in that regard. It’s not a matter that we had a change of heart. In our correspondence to the ministry we had mentioned we were reluctant and after the concerns were clarified we would be willing to make nominations.”

Jose Sanchez
“So is it then just that your processes took too long? He said that train has gone.”

Javier Roberts
“It’s not a matter that it took too long. We are of the belief that there is no need to rush this process. We all know what happened under the previous administration with the first amount of money and we wanted to ensure that this process to be transparent and as fair to everyone that those who needed the benefit, benefited from this money and our process takes its direction. We have different levels that we need to consult with.”

Jose Sanchez
“Wouldn’t you accept or concede that your process is very slow. Over two million, five hundred thousand dollars have been spent on housing and you guys are still figuring out in your minds what you want to do.”

Javier Roberts
“Yeah, but that is not no fault of ours. That is the ministry choosing to go ahead with the implementation of the project before we made our nominations.”

Jose Sanchez
“What about the people who wanted their houses repaired or built? Should they have waited from January until now, until your processes are finished? Wouldn’t that be unfair to the homeowner?”

Javier Roberts
“Yes, but it wouldn’t be unfair because we want to ensure that everyone benefits fully and the process must be transparent. And if they requested us as social partners on the committee, I think they should have either waited on us or said we would go without you. At no point in time did they communicate to us that they would go ahead without us.”

Roberts says that the N.T.U.C.B. would like to review how the first two million dollars of the Venezuela Housing program were spent.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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