THA Minority Leader Kelvon Morris finds Chief Secretary Farley Augustine's 2023-2024 budget disturbing saying it was a regurgitation of what was presented last year.
Augustine is seeking $4.54 billion from government, more than the $3.97 billion it asked for last year but received $2.5 billion.
“This is an admission by the chief secretary that most of the priority items that they indicated that they would have done, they in fact failed to do. While the chief secretary’s ear continues to be in the air, Tobagonians are living a complete nightmare,” Morris told reporters after the budget at the Assembly Legislature, Scarborough.
He said the budget is “filled with a lot of flowery words, but when at the end of the day if you punch it like you’ll do with cheese sticks and those things, lots of air but little food for the people of Tobago. It is quite disappointing; I am quite disappointed.”
Meantime, Newsday also spoke with a number of visitors in the public gallery.
Eugene St Louis of Moriah said: “Looking at the underdevelopment of Tobago, we are too far behind and there should be an effort to plunge Tobago into the 21st century.”
Ava McCall of Roxborough said: “We wanted $6 billion, but we’ll take what we get for now. Everything that he said, I was encouraged by.”
Sherwyn Alleyne of Charlotteville said he is hoping that the island receives exactly what is requested.
“I think that we should get that amount because there is a lot of work in Tobago to be done. I think that the budget was a realistic budget – I think it is one that speaks more or less close to the maximum of the allocation that should be coming to Tobago rather than the minimum side. We recognise that no matter if we have the PNM administration, that was the narrative that was said some time ago that with a PNM administration in Tobago and a PNM central government, that Tobago would benefit more, at no time we could have seen where Tobago receive closest to the maximum, we’re always closer to the minimum.”