Minority Leader of the Tobago House of Assembly Kelvon Morris yesterday commended Chief Secretary Farley Augustine on his first Budget presentation but said “the maths is not mathsing,” as he questioned how it could be predicated on a 6.9 per cent request of the national Budget.
He said the PDP-governed Assembly would have been in a better place to implement many of the policies it proposed if it had supported the Tobago Autonomy Bill.
Now, he said, Tobago must go and ask the central government for 6.9 per cent to fund its policies, when the bill was offering an assured 6.8 per cent.
He argued that the move to have an office set up in Port-of- Spain to lobby for the revised bill is not making sense.
“The fight remains in Tobago. The persons who derailed the bill are the people who will set up the office in Pembroke Street,” Morrissaid.
“When I listened to the programmes, it was the very thing in that Autonomy Bill that would have given rise to the measures now proposed,” he added.
He said the THA would have had the legislative power to do much more if the bill was supported.
Morris will give the Minority’s response on Tuesday.
Minority councillor Petal Daniel-Benoit said there were some elements of the Budget they will support but added that a request of 6.9 per cent of the national Budget was unrealistic.
She said the tone of the presentation did not suggest collaboration but rather antagonism and infighting.
Former chairman of the Tobago Chamber, Demi John, who spoke on behalf of the organisation, said they were happy with the measures announced by the Chief Secretary and had worked with the THA on some of them.
Among those that satisfied the Chamber was the $60 million allocations to assist the private sector, which he said they are hoping will be ready within a month.
He said they are also very happy with the move to abolish the Land Licensing regime because he said a lot of people are interested in investing on the island.
The plans for a later opening of the airport are also something the Chamber believes is necessary for further business growth in Tobago.