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THA still awaits $100m for health, says London
The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) says it is yet to receive the $100 million allocation in the 2012 budget approved for Tobago’s health sector. The allocation was approved to fund the completion of the Scarborough General Hospital which was scheduled to be fully commissioned in September.
A statement yesterday from the THA said efforts by Chief Secretary Orville London, Secretary of Finance and Enterprise Development, Dr Anselm London, and Secretary of Health and Social Services, Claudia Groome-Duke, to get the money released by the Ministry of Finance have so far been futile.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had said, at the first phase of the commissioning of the institution at Signal Hill on April 4, 2012, her People’s Partnership Government would have provided all the resources necessary to have the hospital fully commissioned by September.
However, with just over two months to go to that date and the end of the 2012 fiscal year, the possibility of the THA receiving the fund seems remote, the statement said. It added the Chief Secretary and Dr London have insisted that if the $100 million was not received within the fiscal year, the Central Government would be in breach of the THA Act and the Dispute Resolution Commission (DRC) ruling that the THA must receive between 4.03 per cent and 6.9 per cent of the national budget.
The parliamentary allocation for the THA in fiscal 2012 was $3.1 billion. The release said Dr London recently wrote new Finance Minister Larry Howai drawing his attention to the outstanding $100 million to the THA. Howai told reporters at the Coco Reef Resort last week he had asked his permanent secretary to look into the matter. Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan also told reporters he was aware of the situation and was lobbying for the release of the funds as soon as possible so the hospital could be fully commissioned as planned.
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