Tobago is undergoing social and economic transformation unlike in any other period and in the coming months, the island and its people would begin to see the many benefits of major initiatives currently underway.
So declared Prime Minister and Political Leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM) Dr Keith Rowley, warning Tobagonians however, to be careful to who they listen to.
“We have a backward habit of being so partisan, so polarised by petty political ambition that we would oppose any project, simply because it wasn’t our idea. It is that kind of partisan approach that has stunned our growth and multiplied small mole hills into big mountains which serve only to deprive our people of opportunities for betterment and prosperity,” he contended.
“We have people throughout our society who are chronic dividers, captured by self and partisan interest, the ones that always cry down the country… thankfully we have many other voices of people in our society who are multipliers.
Rowley was speaking at Sunday’s 48th National Convention at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex. He identified the Sandals project, a new ANR Robinson International Airport terminal, new ferries for the sea bridge and a marina at Canoe Bay as brining benefits to the island.
“The Sandals Golden Grove project, the necessary preparatory work has been proceeding satisfactorily. We have an agreed Memorandum of Understanding in place, we have done all the initial land surveys and are engaged in ownership transactions with the CLF liquidator. We have made the necessary submissions to the EMA and at this stage of the process, we are required to hold all the necessary public consultations, which we would do according to law.
“A delegation from Sandals is due here for expressions with the designated Government team in the second week of December. The renowned Sandals resort will not only bring their global operational expertise to the table and the power of the best all-inclusive brand in the world… that brand will bring the much sort after airline traffic and effective hospitality training for which it is now famous in the industry,” he said.
“With respect to the airport in Tobago, a request for proposals was published on Monday, November 5. NIDCO is handling this project for the Ministry of Finance and the THA and it involves the construction of a new terminal building and associated works at the ANR Robinson International Airport. Submissions close in February 2019, at which time an evaluation would be done and the successful contractor/financier will be selected, and construction should commence later in 2019.”
He noted construction was about to begin in Australia on two ferries for the sea bridge, which are due for delivery in 2020 and for which initial payments have already been made.
“In the meantime, as we dispose of the T&T Express, we expect to lease another vessel to accompany the Spirit and the Galleon’s Passage during 2019,” he added.
He also advised that two proposals were received following the advertisement of a Request for Proposal for the construction of a marina at Cove.
“An evaluation was done by a team selected by the Ministry of Finance and the THA and a developer was recommended to a Cabinet sub-committee … a Cabinet meeting here in Tobago last Friday accepted the recommendations of the subcommittee, so we can now proceed to have the necessary actions taken to facilitate the construction of a major marina facility at Canoe Bay.
“This marina, which is one of the few in the Caribbean, which would be outside the main hurricane highway, is expected to attract major offshore and onshore business in Tobago as a safe haven for the yachting and boating industry of the entire region,” he said.
Rowley also said funding has been provided for the improvements in public ground transport in Tobago with a new bus terminal to be constructed in Scarborough shortly.
He also said a major access road programme under the THA was currently underway and that the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) was paying attention to improvements in the island’s water supply.