Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 22nd 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt March 22 - 2017
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CALLS FOR TOURISM MINISTER TO BE AXED
in office: PM
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says no con-
sideration is being given to removing Tourism
Minister Shamfa Cudjoe from his Cabinet, as the
decision to close the Tourism Development Com-
pany was a decision taken by the Government
and not one minister.
He was speaking during last Thursday's post-Cab-
inet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St
Ann's. The Communications Workers Union has
been calling on Rowley to axe Cudjoe over her
failure to consult with the union on the closure of
the company and the fate of the 114 workers.
But Rowley said that call could not be a serious
one. He said he led the Cabinet which decided to
close the TDC.
"So therefore to call on me to fire the minister
because the minister did it is not to understand
what is happening," he said.
He said Cudjoe was a part of the Cabinet, "so
to try to personalise it and to try to attack an
individual is not getting us anywhere and we are
not being distracted by that."
Rowley said the "Government will go as quick-
ly as possible to the point where we have better
promotion of the T&T tourism product, have a
better product available and expand our footprint
in Caribbean tourism. That is what we are after."
Rowley said two new entities, one focussing on
Tobago and the other on Trinidad, will be estab-
lished within the next three months.
He said the decision to close the company was
not made "out-of-the-blue."
Rowley said under the proposed arrangement,
the Tobago House of Assembly "will have a great-
er input and direct responsibility for marketing and
promoting Tobago because Tobagonians want that.
That is what they want."
He said the product to market the country has
to be regulated to maintaining the standard required.
Rowley said a regulatory agency has to be estab-
Rowley said it was the union's responsibility to
advocate for its members, who are the workers of
the TDC. He said he had "no problem with that,
we expect them to ensure that the workers are
treated fairly, but at the end of the day the Gov-
ernment looks at the wider national interest."
The PM said he was "disappointed to hear some
of the unfounded allegations" about the matter.
He said some $200 million was wasted under the
TDC, previously, "so the availability of funding was
not the problem affecting the sector."
He said T&T's "failure to properly promote itself
was not simply a question of not enough money."
He added: "It might be a dysfunctional effort, a
poor promotional model."
Rowley expressed disappointment over a decision
by the CWU and others to withdraw from the
National Tripartite Advisory Council, which estab-
lished as a forum for government, business and
labour to meet to discuss matters of national impor-
He said he did not expect that the withdrawal
of the labour movement would have occurred at
the first instance of a problem. Rowley said the
problems should and could have been discussed
within the body. (Trinidad Guardian)
Suruj: She can't
cut it in tourism
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
needs to review leaving the Tour-
ism Ministry in the hands of Sham-
fa Cudjoe, since she cannot do the
job, Opposition MP Suruj Ram-
bachan said on Sunday.
"Government needs to better
manage tourism, since we're only
exposing Trinidad and Tobago, not
truly marketing it.
"It's a job clearly beyond the cur-
rent minister and the Prime Min-
ister needs to review keeping it in
her hands," he said during a media
briefing at which he and other Unit-
ed National Congress MPs critiqued
Government's economic manage-
"After 18 month of office, it's clear
this isn't a thinking government,
but a wait-and-see government,"
"We're concerned at rising debt
levels---62 per cent of GDP---as one
would have to have a way to earn
to repay this debt.
"But we've seen no credible eco-
nomic plan to generate funding to
repay the debts we're incurring."
Rambachan said borrowings
should finance methods which earn
income rather than being used for
unproductive processes, creating a
"Government hasn't shown the
source of funding to repay debts
and isn't creating a stimulus pack-
age to generate economic activity.
"The Obama administration in
the US recession had a plan and
within two years saw benefits. So
it's necessary for Government to
intervene in the economy with stim-
ulus investments, but they're sitting
silently by," he said.
"We're seeing bank lending rates
rising and increasing the cost of
doing business, slow private sector
growth because people are fearful
and losing confidence, job losses
which affect the retail and manu-
facturing sectors and even slowdown
in loans for home improvements.
That in turn has affected the con-
struction sector." Rambachan also
appealed for care with disposal of
state assets lest poor handling trun-
He recommended seeking niches
involving small and medium busi-
nesses and establishing agricultural
production and agro-processing to
increase food production and
decrease the food import bill.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley addresses the media during last week's post-Cabinet press briefing.
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