The Municipality of Penal/Debe covers an area of 246.91 square kilometres (km2) and is strategically located south of the City of San Fernando and is bounded by the regions of Siparia and Princes Town. The Municipality is located in both the Counties of Victoria and St. Patrick and boasts of varied topography; with low-lying hills to the north, a higher mountain range to the south and lower areas which extend from the Oropouche Lagoon. (Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government, 2016)
The Penal/Debe Regional Corporation, established on October 1st, 1991, is a creation of the Municipal Corporations Act No. 21 of 1990. It is one of fourteen such bodies responsible for local governance in Trinidad.
The lines of business are incorporated in the functions of the Corporation as enshrined in the Municipal Corporations Act No. 21 of 1990 (Section 232), as amended by Act No. 8 of 1992. These are listed hereunder:-
- The distribution of truck-borne water subject to the provisions of the Water and Sewerage Act (Chapter 54:40);
- The provision, maintenance and control of all Corporation buildings;
- The maintenance and control of homes for the aged established by the Corporation;
- The maintenance and control of child care centers established by the Corporation (subject to any other written law);
- The construction and maintenance of all drains and watercourses, except main water-courses and highway watercourses;
- The provision, maintenance, and control of such parks, recreation grounds, beaches and other public spaces as the President may from time to time by Order prescribe;
- The promotion of development within the Municipality in accordance with the plans approved by the Minister with responsibility for physical planning;
- The maintenance of state property including – such police stations, health centers, post offices, and other government buildings as the Minister to whom responsibility for the construction and maintenance of buildings is assigned may by order determine;
- The maintenance, control and enhancement of the physical environment including – monitoring watercourses, beaches and waterfront areas, swamps, forests, game sanctuaries, savannahs, parks and other open spaces;
- The disposal of garbage from public and private property, the development and maintenance of sanitary landfills, chemical treatment for insect and vector control, abatement of public nuisances and dissemination of information for primary health care;
- The development, construction, maintenance and repair of passenger bus and taxi shelters and benches;
- The coordination of local and regional trade fairs, athletic events and cultural displays and entertainment;
- The collection and distribution of forms issued by Departments of Government;
- The maintenance and control of burial grounds and crematoria, subject to the provisions of the Public Burial Grounds Act (Chapter 30:50) and the Cremation Act (Chapter 30:51);
- The provision, maintenance and control of public pastures and recreation grounds, subject to the provisions of the Recreation Grounds and Pastures Act (Chapter 41:01);
- Such other functions as the President may from time to time by Order prescribe.
Further, and although not the responsibility of the Corporation, assistance is also provided in a variety of ways to schools, Churches, Community groups and other Non-Governmental Organizations as approved by Council.