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TTCA president: Local contractors can benefit from Caribbean rebuilding effort

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Ruins of a school on the Island of Barbuda following the passage of Hurricane Irma last week.

Hurricane Irma may have hurt Antigua and Barbuda residents, but T&T’s assistance with their rebuilding efforts can help boost the local long-suffering construction and manufacturing sector.

Last Sunday, the T&T Contractors’ Association spoke to the Ambassador of Antigua/Barbuda on rebuilding assistance, TTCA president Ramlogan Roopnarine confirmed yesterday.

Roopnarine spoke from Fort Lauderdale which was also hit by Irma on Sunday.

Roopnarine said trees had fallen and there was no power where he was.

Roopnarine who returns today, said his focus is however on the assistance the Caribbean needs following Irma’s destruction.

Last week, the Category Five hurricane - en route to Miami - ripped through the Leeward Islands up to Cuba, causing 24 deaths and destroying structures, particularly on Barbuda and Antigua.

T&T nationals from St Maarten were evacuated to Antigua yesterday.

Roopnarine said,”In talks with the Ambassador, they’ve agreed to do an assessment for us to know what’s neceesary. That’s expected by Friday. Once in, we’ll know what’s be involved.”

“Goverment will be involved and the effort will encompass T&T individuals, but moreso, companies including building suppliers and manufacturers,” he added, noting T&T can supply steel roofs and hurricane proofing expertise.

TTCA has approximately 100 members.

But skilled workers like Morvant- based Victor Lewis -specialist in carpentry, masonry and other areas - hopes Government ensures the effort will allow small businessmen like himself to get work in the Caribbean rebuilding effort .

Lewis said yesterday, “I’ve had no work for the past few years after contracts stopped. While we understand the economy is bad, it’s really disheartening to go on sites and see Jamaicans, Ghanaians and other foreigners working when TT citizens who are company- registered and officially qualified, can’t get jobs,”

“ We should ensure nationals get jobs, or youths will continue sliding into crime,”