L to R - Penelope Beckles MP, Minister of Housing and Urban Development (standing); Sandra Fraser, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (seated); Claire Davidson-Williams, Permament Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (seated); Gary Romeo, IT Manager, Ministry of Housing and Ubran Development (standing); Adrian Leonce MP, Minister in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (standing). The Ministers look on as the Permanent Secretaries sign the Report after the live draw of the PETROTRIN Residential Lots Programme, at the Ministry's main conference room. (Image courtesy Ministry of Housing and Urban Development)

Some 70 potential first-time homeowners, who are former employees of PETROTRIN, have been selected for residential lots at La Savanne and Nurse Trace in Guayaguayare, as part of the PETROTRIN Residential Lots Programme.

The potential homeowners were selected via a Live Public Draw event hosted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, on Tuesday 07 September 2021.  The Draw was supervised by independent, external auditors to ensure transparency and accountability of the Random Draw process.  In addition, the event was broadcast live on state television, as well as live streamed on the Ministry’s and the Land Settlement Agency’s social media platforms.

A release from the Housing Ministry explains that the PETROTRIN Residential Lots Programme was launched in 2020 for former employees of PETROTRIN who were terminated in November 2018, as a result of the closure of the refinery, and the restructuring of the company’s exploration and production activities.

The Ministry reports that since the Programme’s launch, it has received a total of 3,000 applications. Of that number, title searches have been conducted on 1,400 applications to ensure applicants are not full owners or partial owners of land. That exercise is being carried out by the Land Settlement Agency (LSA), in keeping with the eligibility criteria of the Programme.

Nine sites have been earmarked for the Programme, with each providing serviceable lots of approximately 5,000 square feet for a lease period of 199 years. The Ministry says lots on these sites will be distributed once all the required infrastructure, lotification and statutory approvals have been received, with no additional charges to the former employees of PETROTRIN.

According to the Housing Ministry, the Programme will be utilising its Aided Self-Help Housing approach. As such, the Land Settlement Agency will provide pre-approved house plans, technical assistance and oversight for the construction of the houses, while the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company (TTMF) will provide subsidized loans for eligible applicants requiring mortgage facilities for home construction.

The Live Public Draw event was presided over by Housing Minister Penelope Beckles MP and Energy Minister Stuart Young MP.

Witnessing the Live Draw were: Minister in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Adrian Leonce MP; Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, Sandra Fraser; Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Claire Davidson-Williams; and Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Nirmala Ramlogan.

Also in attendance from the Land Settlement Agency (LSA) were Chairman Wayne Inniss, and Chief Executive Officer Hazar Hosein.