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No room for people's summit

The administration of the Cipriani Labour College has pulled the plug on plans for the IV People's Summit of the Americas to be hosted there.

The college has cited issues with security and accommodation.

Joel Wilson, the college's marketing manager, confirmed the decision yesterday. He said, "After reviewing the needs with our stakeholders and student body, it was agreed that it was impossible to accommodate the 1,000 people who would be in Trinidad spending one week." He said the college just does not have the facilities needed.

"We can only accommodate 500 people, and our security is not in a position to cope with such large numbers," Wilson said.

He said the college is in full support of the movement, "but we just don't have the accommodation".

Prime Minister Patrick Manning also took issue with the college being used as the protest point, according to people's summit organiser David Abdulah.

In a media release yesterday, Abdulah gave an account of the meeting last week between Manning and his organisation-the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (FITUN).

The release stated "FITUN's president advised the prime minister of two matters related to the people's summit. The first was whether there was a problem, from the prime minister's standpoint, of the use of Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies for this event."

According to Abdulah, "Mr Manning stated that he did, in fact, have a problem with our use of the college. There was a discussion about another venue which FITUN had previously applied for. The prime minister stated that the Government would use its good offices to facilitate this".

No reason was given for Manning's objection.

The college is along the route to be taken by leaders between the airport and capital.

Abdulah, former chairman of the board of directors of Cipriani College, told Express yesterday that the plan was to use the college in Valsayn, but the space is inadequate.

Abdulah said a final decision has not yet been made about the alternative venue.

"We will issue a release in due course," Abdulah said.

Sources said that a location in Chaguaramas was being sought as the alternative venue.