Former Head of the Public Service Reginald Dumas yesterday accepted Prime Minister Keith Rowley’s apology for the fiasco that resulted in the domestic sea bridge being without a proper ferry service at present. Responding to questions at a public hearing of the Parliament’s Land and Physical Infrastructure joint select committee (JSC) at Tower D of the Port-of-Spain International Waterfront Centre, Dumas said, “As a Tobagonian. I accept the apology.”
Dumas said he has known Rowley for many years and believes his apology is genuine. “A government can’t please everybody,” he said.
Dumas said very often, government have to take hard decisions which will make some people grumble initially but eventually people realise the wisdom behind those decisions. He explained it was all a matter of how these decisions are communicated to the public.
However Dumas was astounded that Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles chose not to attend the JSC’s hearing in Tobago earlier this month.
Recalling that Charles’ predecessors Orville London and Hochoy Charles often spoke about the Assembly’s powers, Dumas said it was not correct the THA had no responsibility in this matter.
Referring to the Constitution and the THA Act, Dumas said it is true that all of the Assembly’s powers are not unfettered in relation to the powers of Central Government.
However he said the THA Act does speak to the Assembly having an input into Tobago’s infrastructure, which includes air and sea transport.
Dumas also said the Port Authority Act shows the THA has responsibility for warehouse facilities connected to the port in Scarborough.
Dumas opined that through his non-attendance, Charles may have offered, “an excellent argument for the abolition of the THA.
He said at the very least, Charles should have appeared before the JSC to tell the committee what were Tobago’s issues with the ferry service.