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THA's Forgotten Projects --- Fiscal 2018 Budget Statement
The Tobago House of Assembly's
$4.91 billion dollar budget request
for Fiscal 2018 focuses on sev-
eral avenues for economic diver-
The budget was presented last
Thursday -- June 22, at the Assem-
bly Legislature Building, Jerningham
Street, Scarborough, two days after
the initially proposed June 20 date
because of the passing of the trop-
ical storm Bret.
Presented by Secretary in the
Division of Finance and the Econ-
omy Joel under the theme,
"Unleashing the Creative and Pro-
ductive Capacity of Our People,"
the Budget Statement was $350
million less than last year's.
A number of previously proposed
projects have re-appeared on the
list, while others didn't make the
Speaking about the overall allo-
cation, Jack said, "The figure com-
prises of proposed recurrent expen-
diture of $3.2 billion and $1.71
billion in development expenditure."
He also said allocations for URP
and CEPEP totalled just over
Of the amount requested for
recurrent expenditure Personnel
Expenditure (e.g salaries) $ 858.3M
and the Division of Health Wellness
and Family Development $794.1M
took the largest portions.
He said the Assembly also plans
to undertake major investments in
the tourism sector to the tune of
355.4 million dollars. This includes
phase III of the Fort King George
Heritage Park project, at a cost of
$6.1 million; the upgrade of Sanc-
tuary Resort $50M and Manta Lodge
$8.3M and infrastructural work at
Pigeon Point $9.1M.
Secretary Jack also spoke about
two previously proposed projects.
" The introduction of new product
offerings and experiences such as
Canopy Tours at the Main Ridge
Forest Reserve and the Scarborough
Heritage Trail project."
Both projects were initiated under
former Secretary in the Division of
Tourism and Transportation Trac-
ey Davidson-Celestine and intro-
duced at the 2015 International
Tourism Trade Show in Berlin.
While some elements of the Scar-
borough Heritage Trail have been
implemented the promised canopy
tours are yet to begin.
According to former Secretary
Davidson-Celestine, the canopy
tours were geared towards visitors
with an interest in adventure and
eco-tourism. Visitors were to be
given the opportunity to use thir-
teen lines to zip through the West-
ern Hemisphere's oldest protected
Another new attraction proposed
by then tourism Secretary , which
went hand in hand with the can-
opy project, was the establishment
of an inland and underwater muse-
um off the Port of Scarborough.
The proposal called for sunken
relics to be converted into a park.
That project was not mentioned in
this year's budget.
Speaking about other areas of
investment, Secretary Jack said the
"Agricultural Access Roads Pro-
gramme and the development of
an Agro-Park at Friendship Estate
were allocated $80M and $10M
The Friendship Estate, which was
acquired by the Assembly in 2010
as part of the Assembly's housing
thrust to develop service lots for
Tobagonians to build homes, was
mentioned in previous budget state-
ments as far back as 2015, but is
yet to get off the ground.
Other previously proposed proj-
ects highlighted by the Secretary
fall into the "off budget" category.
This category deals with projects
directly under the financial control
of the central government.
Those projects are the construc-
tion of the new terminal at the ANR
Robinson International Airport, the
construction of the Old Grange and
Roxborough Police Stations.
This year's budget request also
included the construction of a
desalination plant at the Cove
Eco-Industrial and Business Park
(CEIBP) and the expansion of the
power generation plant at Cove.
A number of other projects pro-
posed in Fiscal 2015 and 2016 did
not make the cut this year.
These include the construction
of the new Scarborough Market at
Shaw Park, repairs and upgrades to
the Old Scarborough Market and
repair and upgrade of the Studley
There was also no mention of
the Plymouth Micro Enterprise
Centre. Construction of this facil-
ity began in 2011 and it is yet to
Last year the THA submitted a
$5.3 billion budget request to the
Central Government, however, the
island received an allocation of
$2.345 billion. Jack spoke about how
that money was allocated. "$2,045M
was allocated for Recurrent Expen-
diture and $289M was allocated for
Development Programme Expendi-
According to the Secretary, the
overall budgetary allocation to the
Assembly in Fiscal 2017 was $415M
-15 percent lower than last year's .
Finance Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Joel Jack
delivers Fiscal 2018 Budget Statement on June 22, Assembly Legislature
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