OPPOSTION forces in Tobago are anticipating nothing new when the 2018/2019 fiscal package is presented on June 25.
On Monday and Tuesday, Secretary of Finance and the Economy Joel Jack started his private-sector stakeholder consultations ahead of his 6th THA budget presentation scheduled for June 25 at the Assembly Chamber in Scarborough.
THA Minority Councillor Dr Faith BYisrael, speaking with Newsday Tobago on Wednesday, said the THA for the last 17 years has presented budgets that were not based on thought, were not based on any real vision for Tobago and were not forward-thinking in their planning, saying this year will be no different.
“We do not expect anything different from this budget, because for the last year or so the current administration, which is just a continuation of the administration that had been there for the last 16 years, has not shown that it can critically analyse the needs of Tobago, the developmental needs of Tobago and therefore the budget will simply represent that,” she said.
So she is predicting a repeat. “We envision it to be a rehashing of all of the old projects that have been on the cards for the longest while and have failed.
We expect it to look exactly like what the Comprehensive Economic Development goals analysis looks like, which was we have these two Comprehensive Economic Development plans for the last eight or ten years, and we’ve accomplished less than half of what was set out by those plans, so we don’t envision it to be anything of substance.”
She said she was unaware a date had been set for the presentation, adding that the minority councillors have had no communication to date.
“And considering that the Executive Council would have chosen to meet with the private stakeholders and not include the minority in any of those discussions is also telling,” BYisrael said.
Leader of the Tobago Forwards Christlyn Moore, when contacted, endorsed these sentiments, saying this year’s presentation will be a rehash of years gone by.
“As usual, I expect that the budget will be a wish list plagiarised from the wish lists of the last ten years.
“I expect that some unrealistic figure will be sought that is completely disconnected from economic actualities.
“I expect recycled ideas and promises to start the same programmes that were promised last year and the year before that.
“I expect crowing about projects completed in 2018 that were 20 years in waiting.
“I expect that the THA will continue in the business of misleading the nation, safe in the knowledge that it is accountable to no one,” she said.