PNM has poorly managed Tobago
Over the last twelve years the PNM has poorly managed Tobago affairs both economically and politically. From the time the PNM won the THA election in 2001 Tobago has regressed significantly under the PNM rule.
In 2001 the PNM made a number of promises to the Tobago population that seemed feasible to continue the development of Tobago. However, due to the PNM's inability to implement these policies, a number of the well-conceived ideas never came to fruition.
The Chief Secretary was the Secretary for Finance when the PNM's first budget was presented in 2001. In this budget presentation, the PNM promised Tobagonians a Tobago Development Bank. The idea of this bank was to manage Tobago's financial development.
A Development Bank is a financial institution primarily dedicated to fund new and upcoming businesses and economic development projects by providing equity capital and or loan capital.
This meant that the bank would have been made to assist budding entrepreneurs in Tobago to develop from small and medium size businesses to large businesses.
The bank would have provided loans for large infrastructural development and there would have been a mechanism for accessing funds from foreign investors, government entities and local private investors. This well thought out idea was aborted and was never mentioned by the PNM in all its years of managing Tobago. In 2002 a new Secretary for Finance was appointed. The PNM boasted about his knowledge and experience in economic and financial matters. Tobagonians were hopeful that his expertise would have been leveraged for the benefit of all Tobagonians. Instead, we have been subjected to ten years of grand standing, posturing and rhetoric with few tangible results.
Tobagonians and the Roman Catholic community were promised a primary school at Smithfield, and the Ebenezer Methodist School was earmarked for upgrade. To date neither of these schools has been built. In 2012 during the visit of the Roman Catholic Archbishop for Trinidad and Tobago, the Chief Secretary made another promise that his administration would build a school for the Roman Catholic students. The education fraternity in Tobago continues to be marginalised by the PNM led THA.
The former administration made numerous efforts to ensure the establishment of the Pentecostal Light and Life Foundation High School. The school was able to open its doors in September 2001, the PNM led THA has neglected the operations of the school and has left the Sangster's Hill Road in Scarborough to deteriorate into one of the worst roads in Tobago. To add insult to injury, no walkover has been built off the Claude Noel Highway to ensure a safe crossing for students.
By 2003 all hell broke loose in Tobago and instead of getting the things promised in the budget in 2001, 2002, 2003, Tobagonians got an auditor general report stating that the PNM led THA could not have given account for $396 million. Since this has occurred there has being no investigation by the PNM into this financial impropriety, or nobody held responsible for misbehaviour of public funds.
There has been no statement made on the auditor general report from the PNM to date. In 2004 promises continued and Tobago was promised a certain number of houses and a new Division of Education building.
The number of houses promised has not been built and there were huge cost overruns on those constructed. Some of these houses are not distributed to date and the distribution process has been far from transparent. Ironically, this week the Secretary for Housing is promising additional construction of homes in Adventure and service lots in Belle Garden to be delivered in 2012. The offices of the Division of Education are housed in rental premises in Dutch Fort.
In 2005 the Moriah playing field and health centre was promised. These two projects are still pending. Dr. Santiago was brought in and he was paid a substantial amount of money to produce cloned goats. Dr. Santiago left our shores without producing one goat and with all taxpayers' monies.
In 2006 the PNM promises continued unabated even without fulfilling the promises they had made in the previous years. In 2006 Tobago was promised the re-establishment of a second town in Roxborough.
A Roxborough Administrative Complex, a new market, a new gas station and abattoir were part of that package. It was said that Roxborough would have been revamped and would have become a bustling tourism town. Nothing has been done in Roxborough which is worse off than it was in 2001.
Also in 2006 Tobagonians were promised the Scarborough Beautification project, the refurbishment of Fort King George, new police stations in collaboration with the PNM central government, a new Scarborough market and the retrofitting of the old market into a cultural theatre. None of these promises have been fulfilled and they all seem not to be close insight.
In 2007 the PNM persisted in making promises to Tobago and Tobagonians. The Tobago PNM Council joined the former Prime Minister Patrick Manning and promised Tobagonians a bypass from Plymouth to Moriah, the extension of the Claude Noel Highway from John Dial to Charlotteville.
The THA promised the development of plantain and banana products and the Whim Multi-Purpose facility.
We are all aware that none of these projects have gotten off the ground and in some cases huge sums have been spent on trying to start these projects.
In 2008 the PNM's mismanagement and underperformance continued. 2008 was the year of the famous micro project, the promise of the Roxborough Health Facility and the Mt Pleasant Pavilion for the 2009 Easter Goat Race Celebrations.
The PNM has not apologised to Tobagonians for the eight million dollars expended in the Micro-project to date.
The investigation into the micro-project revealed that 35 projects were given to the son of a sitting THA Secretary. It was shown from the investigation that some of the projects were unnecessary. The Roxborough Health Facility is still not constructed and the Mt Pleasant Pavilion is still incomplete and may not be completed for the 2012 Easter goat race celebrations.
By 2009 the PNM-led THA was shaken by the showing of the TOP in the 2009 THA election.
The PNM then promised they would have completed all projects that were promised prior to 2009. The PNM then promised to purchase the Friendship Estate for housing and the expansion of the Canaan Bon Accord community. As we all know none of the projects have been completed to date and the PNM has not completed the purchase of Friendship Estate.
By 2010 the PNM was soundly beaten by the TOP in the General Elections and was totally flabbergasted and shell shocked. However, by 2011 the PNM recovered enough to begin making more promises to the fisher folk in Pigeon Point.
It is clear that the PNM has mismanaged and poorly handled Tobago's affairs. Most of the projects the PNM has promised to Tobago have not been completed and no intelligent reason has been given. The PNM has started making promises ahead of the upcoming THA elections. We are therefore reminding Tobagonians of the PNM's track record in delivery of their promises and suggesting that any new promises be treated with the scepticism that they deserve.
THE TOBAGO ORGANISATION OF THE PEOPLE