It was a combination of a detailed accounting of work done, and a call to arms to ensure the work continues, at the People’s National Movement’s Tobago Convention over the weekend.
The political event was held at the Bishops High School.
It was Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, Kelvin Charles, who gave a full accounting of his administration’s activities over the past few years. Mr Charles reported that they have striven to fulfil the promise of developing Tobago community by community, and had succeeded in keeping roughly 77 per cent of promises for developing the sister isle, made on the hustings.
He points to the success of the island's quarry operations, noting that Tobago currently is exporting aggregate to Trinidad, and by year's end, would be exporting aggregate to Guyana for road construction purposes.
He revealed that Tobago will soon be setting up its own medical faculty, even as continues improving the health facilities on the island.
The THA chief, while boasting of international awards won for promoting Tobago tourism, also addressed the possible impact on Tobago tourism of the closure of the Thomas Cook Group of Companies, noting that the administration and the Tourism Authority are moving with alacrity to minimise the fallout. He reported that by the end of this week, the Tobago Tourism Agency has met with various tourism stakeholders with a view to creating special incentive packages to improve the attractiveness of the destination. He also stated that by the end of this week, the Tourism Authority board will confirm when it will undertake a trade mission to the UK, to meet with airline industry movers and shakers.
Among the other feature speakers were Finance Secretary Joel Jack, who was the first to sound the battle cry to the party faithful that they could not allow the reins of power in Tobago to slip from the PNM’s hands. According to Secretary Jack, the gains made for Tobago under a PNM Assembly and the PNM Government must be safeguarded and protected by ensuring the PNM is returned to office completely in 2020 and to the Assembly in 2021.
And Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister for Gender & Child Affairs, Ayana Webster Roy, who also is the MP for Tobago East, told those gathered that while the current PNM administration was forced to make tough decisions, it did so, fully mindful that the best interests of the people of this country—particularly future generations—were paramount. She also took issue with those whom she says have no sense of loyalty, referring to some Tobagonians who seem want to benefit from the PNM’s work and policies, but are quick to condemn and criticise the party.
Meanwhile, Sports Minister and Tobago West MP, Shamfa Cudjoe, waxed lyrical and philosophical, as she outlined the party’s achievements in Tobago. The former tourism minister boasted of the two new ferries that will be in operation from 2021, which will be owned and maintained by this country. She also pointed to the expansion of the airport, a project a long time in coming. According to Minister Cudjoe, the government is keeping its promise to deal fairly with each and every applicant from whom land is being purchased for the project.
Story by: JESSIE-MAY VENTOUR