Minority Leader asks THA: Is there a private deal for Studley Park?

Kelvon Morris Minority Leader, Tobago House of Assembly - Photo by David Reid
Kelvon Morris Minority Leader, Tobago House of Assembly - Photo by David Reid


THA Minority Leader Kelvon Morris is calling on Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development Trevor James or any other assembly member to say whether a “private deal” was being brokered to outsource the work of the Studley Park Enterprises Ltd (SPEL).

He raised the issue in the Assembly Legislature, Scarborough, on Thursday, while responding to a motion by Chief Secretary Farley Augustine concerning the THA’s priority initiatives for fiscal 2024.

The THA, in its June budget, asked central government for $4.54 billion to manage its affairs over the next year. It only received $2.585 billion, 55 per cent of its original request.

To address the shortfall in allocation, the THA met on two separate occasions, at Manta Lodge, Speyside and Shaw Park Cultural Complex, to re-prioritise its agenda for 2024.

At the plenary sitting, Morris called on James to say whether he was in discussions with Farmer Quarries Strategic Partner to outsource the quarry's operations.

Morris, assemblyman for Darrel Spring/Whim, claimed he had “a private proposal to this public entity” to finance, operate and market the Studley Park Quarry, Tobago’s most precious, prized gem.

He also said he was shocked to learn from James in a newspaper article that Ashworth Jack had replaced David Walker as chairman of SPEL.

James also said, in the article, that Jack’s appointment was approved by the executive council.

Morris asked whether the last chairman did not want to facilitate that arrangement, prompting Jack's appointment.

Morris said the Minority bench, through questions on the Order Paper, has been asking James to name the members of the SPEL board for the past six months.

“For God heaven’s sake, this member will not tell us but yet he is quoted in the media saying to the media that Mr Ashworth Jack is the chairman of this SPEL board.”

Earlier in his contribution, Morris complained about the late start of the sitting.

He also took issue with the fact that several questions on the Order Paper were not answered, owing to the absence of the respective secretaries.

“I must register not just my disappointment but my embarrassment to the way that this august chamber is being treated by my colleagues on the other side.”

He said while things may arise sometimes, “At the end of the day, whatever are your personal challenges should never affect the operations of this honourable house.”

Augustine prefaced his motion by apologising for the absence of several secretaries.

“Let me say a special good morning to all of the members of this honourable house, including those who are unable to join us at this time,” he said.

“There are quite a few of us battling through the flu, and Madam Presiding Officer (Abby Taylor), let me say from the onset that I apologise for my colleagues, and more than that I will ensure that I am seated here for the Minority Leader’s response. But there will be moments that I may have to sit outside because I am one of those battling the flu at the moment.”


"Minority Leader asks THA: Is there a private deal for Studley Park?"

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