Tue, 20 Oct 2020 06:36:55 +0000
Gonzales: No $2m increase in rent for Public Utilities
PUBLIC Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales dismissed claims from Naparima MP Rodney Charles of a $2 million increase in rent at facilities occupied by the ministry.
Gonzales’ rejection of Charles’ claims came before the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives approved a $1,944,382,285 allocation for the ministry.
He explained the ministry currently rents four properties, one of which is 3 Alexandra Place in St Clair, its headquarters. Gonzales said the Public Administration Ministry’s property and real estate division (PRESD) is in talks with the landlords of these properties about the rent arrangements.
He said the ministry has advised the division that “our intention is to have the annual rental figure reduced significantly.” Charles claimed this was not so and there was a $2 million increase in rent at these properties.
Gonzales explained this figure was allocated to deal with outstanding rent from last year. "It is not an increase moving forward, it is to cover outstanding sums.” Charles refused to accept Gonzales’ explanation, insisting that the ministry should have budgeted for a decline in rent.
Leader of Government Business Camille Robinson-Regis explained, ”May I indicate, there is not real