THE Tobago House of Assembly (THA) is collaborating with the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) to develop the Campbleton Estate, Charlotteville, into an environmentally friendly vacation destination.
Chief Secretary Farley Augustine made the announcement on Friday during a visit to the historic estate, which is owned by the OWTU.
He did not give a time frame for the project but said stakeholders from Charlotteville and its environs will soon be consulted about the initiative.
On completion, it is envisaged that the development will comprise 20-25 wooden cottages, nature trails and a facility for research.
Augustine said, “We are looking to partner so that we can have developed in this area an ultra environmentally friendly vacation spot right here in Charlotteville on the estate, something that is in keeping with the natural environment but also something that respects the historical artefacts we have in and around the area.”
He said they are also examining how the partnership can result in gains for the local farmers who are now farming on the estate.
Augustine said in the long run the initiative will benefit the workers.
“The union represents the working class but the State has the responsibility to ensure that the working class and those that are within the middle class that have been losing whatever benefits and privileges that comes along with being in the middle class, that they feel as though both parties can partner in ensuring the workers can benefit and enjoy a better standard of living.
“At the end of the day, all of this, the profits from what we will eventually do, the benefits that will be accrued from what we will eventually partner on here, will redound to the benefit of the workers.”
OWTU president general Ancel Roget endorsed Augustine’s position about the need to create an environmentally friendly development in keeping with tourism trends globally.
“We want to be environmentally sensitive, respecting the community and to put on this spot of land, which once was owned by slave masters but which we now have an opportunity to turn things around and to put on this spot of land one of the most modern eco-tourism projects,” he said.
“All of what we will be doing here will be in keeping with the most modern standards of eco-tourism. We are talking about solar energy, renewable energy and to ensure that it is totally environmentally friendly.”
Roget, who was accompanied by OWTU education & research officer Ozzie Warwick, said the project will be done in phases.
He added there will also be a research component to the initiative.
“We respect the history and we want to also do some building around the history so that the people who come to do their research will understand what this once was, what it represented and what the future holds for it with us now taking this initiative.”
Roget thanked the THA for recognising and embracing the idea.