Progressive Democratic Patriots deputy leader Farley Augustine has once again raised the Division of Tourism and Transportation’s failed 2.5 million zipline project, saying it remains as example of poor procurement legislation.
Speaking at the party’s meeting at Signal Hill/Patience Hill meeting on Tuesday night, Augustine said once elected, the PDP plans to reinstate the “gutted” procurement legislation that currently removes accountability from Tobago House of Assembly officials.
“We must become the best practice and the best standard of how to manage projects,” he said.
He said that the disappeared zipline was the “definition of obeah.”
“I don’t know what else that could be,” he said.
“That is a serious disappearing act, I don’t know how else to explain that.
“When things like this happen over and over and over again, there are people in our society that are vulnerable who lose.”
He said the wastage of money by the division meant that people could not get the handouts that they needed for books, tablets and internet connection.
“There is an opportunity cost to that kind of madness and we have to ask ourselves whether we want to continue down that road,” he said.
Augustine said that he loved Tobago more than he loved the PDP and after the December 6 elections, if the PDP won, he promised his executive council would not operate like the People’s National Movement did.
“If we pass budgets for projects, the projects better be delivered and if you are incapable of managing a division to deliver projects within timely and reasonable budget, then you are incapable of running any division and incapable of running this island. It is as simple as that,” he said.
Augustine said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley reminded Tobago that it only contributed $200 million to their own management and that the cost of running the country was much more than that.
“And we have a simple project, a zipline project is no massive, scientific wonder of the world, that’s a simple project..what wrong with we?” he said.
He said under the PNM, a simple project like that was not completed.
“And that is symptomatic of how we manage our affairs as an island. It is indicative of the kind of deep-rootedness of the corruption in this place,” he said.
He said it was up to the PDP to rescue Tobago.
He also accused THA Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis of mismanagement of funds.
“We are not no Opposition, we ain’t lose no election and because it have no opposition on the island, what we should have had was prudent restraint,” Augustine said.
“Where the prudent restraint now? Fiscal year just start and we spending like crazy, it must be wholly irresponsible to spend in that manner.”
He described the spending as “vulgar and disrespectful to Tobagonians.”
“We might get into office and find that they done waste away all of our budget but God forbid they win, what they go do for the rest of the year?” he asked.
Augustine asked about the funds for capital development for the rest of the fiscal year.
“We have money to pave roads indiscriminately,” he said, adding there was an eventual cost to that wastage.
He said added to the fact that Tobago does not get enough money for capital development, there was the issue of mismanagement and wastage.
“They have been mismanaging our money and we have been just idle bystanders just sitting down, watching them,” he said.