PROGRESSIVE Democratic Patriots (PDP) political leader Watson Duke believes Government is using the proposed $500 million hotel and property development at Rocky Point, Tobago, as an election gimmick ahead of the upcoming THA election.
The proposed first-class hotel, bearing the Marriott brand, was unveiled Tuesday during a news conference at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort in Lowlands. Construction by Superior Hotels TT Ltd, is expected to begin in 2023.
The project is expected to significantly boost Tobago’s tourism sector which has been crippled by the pandemic over the past 18 months.
Duke has accused the PNM of grabbing at straws.
“They are becoming desperate and this whole idea of a $500 million Marriott hotel somewhere in Tobago is highly questionable,” he told Newsday. He said these kinds of announcements by the PNM in the run up to an election is not new to Tobagonians.
“Just on the heels of the 2021 election, they would have gone to Roxborough and again turned the sod for some 200-bedroom hotel right on the beachfront between two rivers,” he claimed.
“They did that to create the impression that they are doing something. But if you go to Roxborough today, nothing like a hotel is there. Not even a sign about any hotel is there. The place is pure bush for agouti and lappe and wild hog to run through.”
Duke was referring to construction of the $350 million Argyle Falls Resort and townhouses which Government said is expected to be completed in 2023. The sod-turning ceremony took place just days before the THA election in January, which ended in a six-six tie between the PNM and PDP.
Duke, the THA representative for Roxborough/Delaford, said the PNM does not care about Tobago’s tourism sector.
“If they really cared, they would have tried to get Coco Reef (Resort & Spa) back up and running. They will try to get Grafton (Beach Resort) to open from next month and Le Grand Courland.
"If they really cared about tourism, they will help the small man who is trying to sell his stuff to tourists from his garden. But they don’t care about tourism. What they care about is big splash, 'wild up' a scene and get people mouth to drop.”
Duke described the construction of Comfort Inn & Suites hotel in Scarborough as a sham.
“It is make believe. But let’s wait and see how the hotel is going to run and who will be attracted to it, whether it will be PNM people supporting PNM, whether they are going to give the hotel a contract to keep sick people. Let’s see how the hotel will actually make money, because the proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
He claimed the Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort is now "run down."
Duke urged Tobagonians to reject the PNM in the upcoming election saying, “We are sick and tired of the PNM. Leh we fix this Tobago.”