Independent Senator Taurel Shrikissoon has questioned Tobago obtaining a credit rating on its own at a time when the island’s deficit was $3 billion, depends on Central Government, and the Tobago House of Assembly has not submitted audited financial statements to the Parliament for years.
“At least bring the audited financial statements and show the capacity for repayment. Other than that Tobago is a responsibility of the Trinidad and Tobago Government,” he said.
In his contribution to the debate yesterday on the 2018 fiscal year’s budget, Shrikissoon said, “Tobago has obtained a credit rating of its own.” Yet, he said, it has a total tax revenue of $216 million, non-tax revenue $8.3 million, and a total revenue $224 million.
The island’s recurrent expenditure $1.86 billion, development programme .32 billion, developmental works through ministries is $1.09 billion. While expenditure is in the sum of $3.27 billion, Shrikissoon said, the total revenue is .23 of a billion and deficit almost $3 billion.
“How could an island like Tobago with a deficit of $3 billion which is funded by Government and obtain a credit rating on its own?” he asked. “How come Tobago have a credit rating on its own and we cannot have THA audited financial statements to date. What is the basis of that rating?”
He continued, “To me it is saying, ‘Tobago prepare yourself for a sale of assets programme, because when you cannot achieve and you cannot make the payment, there is an asset in Tobago that has to be sold for it.”