FFOS NEVER REQUESTED PROPERTY INFORMATION FROM MINISTRY
July 4, 2017
The Minister of Public Administration and Communications, the Honourable Maxie Cuffie wishes to respond to a press release issued by the group, Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) which was published in the media on Tuesday, July 4, 2017.
Checks at the Ministry revealed that no request was ever received from FFOS or its corporate secretary, Gary Aboud for information on buildings or parts of buildings which the government rented over the past ten years.
Minister Cuffie said while he was grateful for FFOS’ interest in the issue, there are established procedures for any individual or group desirous of obtaining information from the Ministry or any Government agency.
That process entails inter alia:
Obtaining a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request form from the Freedom of Information Unit, any public authority or download the form from www.foia.gov.tt
Specifying and filling clearly the information in point form for items 2-4 on the form
Date and sign the Freedom of Information request form and make a photo copy for your personal keeping
“This process gives power to anyone, regardless of their status or station to legitimately access information,” explained Minister Cuffie.
The Ministry is committed to transparency and accountability and Minister Cuffie is assuring Mr. Aboud that once a request is made using the proper channels, the FFOS will be entertained.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON MAKING A REQUEST
Contact the Freedom of Information Unit at Level 7, National Library Building, Cor. Hart and Abercromby Streets, Port of Spain or online at www.foia.gov.tt or via telephone at 625-6111 exts. 2626, 2620 and 2096.
QUICK FACTS ON GOVERNMENT PROPERTY RENTAL
Government’s monthly rental bill as at September 2015 - approximately $45,360,830 VAT exclusive
Savings of $3,216,259 VAT exclusive (per month) in rentals as at 31 May 2017 by vacating a number of properties where the rent was being paid without properties being occupied
Given up over 20 leases on unoccupied buildings to date
One Alexandra Place which cost the Government over $50 million in rent between the period December 2012 and July 2016, now fully occupied under the same terms that had been previously negotiated
Give up Estate Trace, Barataria where the State would have expended approximate $47.7 million, VAT exclusive from December 10, 2012 to August 31, 2016, without ever occupying.
Additional rentals will be vacated with the newly opened Government Plaza which is expected to house over 4,000 public servants when fully occupied.