The Tobago House of Assembly will require more money for its 2012 Budget allocation than its 2011 allowance of $1.9 billion due to challenges in Tobago's tourism sector, THA Chief Secretary Orville London has signalled.For the 2011 national Budget, the THA had requested $3.5 billion but received $1.9 billion.The THA presents its 2012 budget framework next Tuesday in Tobago.
Speaking at last Sunday's PNM family day in Manzanilla, London said: "I wouldn't know exactly what our 2012 budget proposal is since the Secretary for Finance is still completing it. "The budget will be determined by our major goals and objectives for 2012 but they won't be out of sync with the kinds of recommendations or requests we have made in the past."Asked if the THA would want more than the $1.9 billion it received for 2011, London said: "Obviously, the situation has changed with challenges for instance in the tourism sector.
"There's clearly a need to examine ways and means to address marketing and do more in that area, including investment and improving the plant in Tobago, perhaps."He said there should be money for encouraging investments in other areas in Tobago as well.He added: "The $1.9 billion would obviously have presented some constraints for Tobago but we're looking at the situation."I don't want to preempt our budget. However, we've always tried to be very realistic and relate our request to our objectives and goals."
London also responded to Government's attacks on THA during the People's Partnership (PP) Cabinet's recent visit to Tobago and Government's move to establish a branch of the Prime Minister's Office in Tobago.Saying the Government was clearly campaigning, London added: "They never stopped campaigning. A lot of times the issue of governance has been overtaken by the issue of politics."But they've done things in Tobago against the basic tenets of good governance in relation to the THA and Central Government.
"Look at CEPEP, constitutional reform issues and the THA reform matter. The reason why these things come to the fore is because the Government is about electioneering and politics."London added: "Everything they've done is to really send a sign the PP Government cares more about Tobago than the PNM-controlled THA."Because of that we run the risk of setting very dangerous precedents because where you have a THA in a relation with an empowered Government, it's respect for the law that determines things."
London said Hochoy Charles' new party would not make a difference to the PNM's strategies for Tobago.The PNM's family day was attended by some of the party's top brass, including Paula Gopee-Scoon, Colm Imbert, Jerry Narace and others, who arrived in the afternoon.The highlight of the day, the PNM's food competition, was won by Port-of-Spain South with "Anandloo," a stewed pork and potato dish, "Jack in the Pot," an oil-down and "The Kamla," a fruit punch heavily laced with vodka and rum, said Port-of-Spain South MP Marlene McDonald who supervised cooking.