Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Orville London says many people on the island are in support of the establishment of a Sandals hotel.
He made the comment during an interview following yesterday's presentation of the $53 billion 2017 National Budget in the House of Representatives by Finance Minister Colm Imbert, who seemed to give the project his blessing during his speech.
"The Sandals project does send a very powerful signal about where we want to go with the Tobago economy," London said.
Imbert had told legislators earlier that the Government was committed to the proposed establishment of the Sandals Resort in Tobago, noting it would be a catalyst "for development and enhancement of the tourism industry in Tobago and Trinidad."
He said the Government was "certain that a Sandals resort will attract other tourism investments in Tobago" and the resort "will precipitate the upskilling of the workforce, boost agricultural production and deliver better and more effective marketing of Tobago, as well as Trinidad as preferred tourism destinations."
He said the Sandals Resort had the potential to provide significant economic impact and numerous benefits for residents of Tobago and Trinidad.
London pointed out that tourism is going to play a very critical role in the development of the island "from the perspective of getting the (desired) foreign exchange, providing employment and ensuring that Tobago and the country remains viable."
London said, "This project is very critical to Tobago's development (and) it is going to be a catalyst for more development in the tourism sector and improvement in the level of activity in many other sectors on the island.
"The THA and most of the major sectors in Tobago were highly supportive of the Sandals venture," London said.
He said despite the current economic challenges, fiscal 2017 can be very exciting and productive for Tobago because of the Sandals and other projects.
Secretary for Finance Joel Jack, who viewed Imbert's speech with London, echoed the Chief Secretary's sentiments, insisting that the budget presentation was excellent. He said the "prescriptions outlined in the presentation will augur well for not only Tobago, but for all of Trinidad too."
The THA was allocated $2.3 billion in the budget. Imbert said just over $2 billion will be for recurrent expenditure, $289 million for capital expenditure and $20 million for the Unemployment Relief Programme.
He said in addition to that allocation, "significant additional funds have been allocated to facilitate work in Tobago by government ministries under the THA Act."
Imbert said, "The additional budgetary allocation will assist in addressing the chronic water crisis in southwest Tobago."