The Tobago Business Chamber is calling for the "immediate and unconditional" repeal of the Foreign Investment Act in an attempt to wean Tobago off the financial umbilical cord by which they are tied to Central Government.
The call was made on Thursday by the president of the Tobago Chamber attorney Martin George.
George said they want to encourage foreign investment, "but we must do it in a structures way...make it mandatory that anyone investing in Tobago must partner at least up to ten per cent with a local Tobago-based business."
"That way you earn and get the foreign exchange by the direct foreign investment and you also get that transfer of knowledge where our Tobago-based businesses get the opportunity to learn hands-on from bigger, more experienced business persons," he added.
George also proposed that the government seek to expand the CEPEP and URP programmes to create dedicated agro-industry sections which can serve as organized structured government farm workers.
"We'd like to see this as part of an Agrarian awakening for Tobago and for Trinidad also. So let's create a CEPEP - Agro-Division and a URP Agri-Sector. Let's utilize our fertile lands, our rich soil and harness the talents of our people. Let's use the science, the technology to create super productive farms throughout Trinidad and Tobago."
"Let's create a dedicated agri-division in CEPEP and URP so we will increase the pay but do so in a manner linked to increased productivity and increased agricultural output," he added.
George also called for Tobago a VAT free/duty-free zone.
This he said will lead to a massive influx of foreign exchange and investment and business in Tobago.
"Tobago will become the retirement capital of the Caribbean, in much the same way Florida is the retirement State of the USA."
"We would like to wean Tobago off the financial umbilical cord by which they are tied to Central Government. This will require a medium to long-term plan but we need to make a start," George said.