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Saturday 21 September 2019
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Crime against capital city

Ashworth: Govt disinterested in developing Scarborough

Political leader of the Tobago Organisation of the People Ashworth Jack, left, chats with Tobago Forwards leader Christlyn Moore, centre,  and Platform of the Truth's leader Hochoy Charles at a recent press conference.
Political leader of the Tobago Organisation of the People Ashworth Jack, left, chats with Tobago Forwards leader Christlyn Moore, centre, and Platform of the Truth's leader Hochoy Charles at a recent press conference.

Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) political leader Ashworth Jack claims the Government is not interested in developing Scarborough, the island's capital city.

He was speaking on Saturday night at a public meeting hosted by the members of the Tobago Liberation and Empowerment Team at Milford Court, Bon Accord.

The team comprises Jack, Tobago Forwards leader Christlyn Moore and Platform of Truth leader Hochoy Charles.

In his address, Jack referred to Finance Minister Colm Imbert's recent presentation of the Mid-Year Review in the Parliament.

He said while Imbert gave Tobago permission to borrow up to $300 million, he also announced in the Mid-Year Review the Government is borrowing $1.4 billion for housing projects in Port of Spain and San Fernando.

Jack, who said no mention was made of Scarborough, lamented the only "bright light" in the capital city is a private developer along Milford Road.

"One of the features of any town is people living in the town, and part of Scarborough's problem is that Scarborough's indigenous population is much too small. It is pushed up into Darrel Spring and up on the hill," he said.

"It means that as soon as business hours finish in Scarborough, everything shut down because there is no indigenous population."

Jack claimed the Government is well aware of this.

"They understand that and they are building major population centres in Port of Spain and San Fernando. Not a word about developing Scarborough for housing "so that it will take a life of its own."

To compound matters, Jack said the PNM-led Tobago House of Assembly seems happy with the $300 million allocation.

The TOP leader said he becomes depressed whenever he returns from overseas trips and drives through Scarborough.

"That is our town and if we want to develop those urban centres we need to understand why they must be developed. We need to understand that Tobago businesses will flourish if people are comfortable to come to Tobago by having enough boats and enough planes," he said.

"If Tobagonians can create more employment, then a spin off effect will take place, and the only way you can do that is if people who understand it, people who suffer when the things are bad and benefit when the things are good, are in charge of the decision-making in Tobago."

Jack also claimed there was marked decline in tourist arrivals in Tobago from 2001, when the PNM took control of the THA, to 2018.

"In 2001, the international tourist arrival in Tobago was just under 300,000 international visitors. In 2018, it was 30,000. Are we satisfied with that?" he asked.

He said nothing was being done by the authorities to ensure that next year will be better than this year.

"So, instead of progressing, the tourism industry in Tobago is regressing because somebody is waiting on somebody to tell them what to do. And so, the answer to that, in their mind, is to displace a number of families and build a bigger (airport) terminal. That will solve Tobago's tourism problem."

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