Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy and Senate Vice President Nigel DeFreitas — all from Tobago —were assigned units in the HDC’s posh Victoria Keys development in lieu of a housing allowance. This was confirmed yesterday by Housing Minister Randall Mitchell who said, MPs from Tobago, “are afforded the opportunity to access government housing in lieu of their housing allowance.”
As he responded to a newspaper report on Cudjoe, Webster-Roy and DeFreitas receiving units on a rent-to-own lease, Mitchell said the article contained inaccuracies, as all three, “would be made to vacate such accommodation as and when their (government) tenure ends.”
Mitchell said that previously, Tobago MPs from past and current administrations were housed at government-owned accommodation at Federation Villas or Flagstaff Hill, St James. The units allocated for government use at both places, he said, were in need of repair and a decision was made to house the three government officials and their respective families at Victoria Keys.
“Government accommodation is also made available in the short or medium term to visiting technocrats, public servants and other persons employed in the service of the government, at its discretion,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell expressed “deep disappointment” that the subject of an investigative report was the occupation by Tobago MPs and a Senator in government-reserved accommodations to which they are entitled, and not “the obscene escalation” in the cost of construction of the Victoria Keys development from $200 million to over $652 million during the period 2010-2015.