Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 13th 2013 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, September 13, 2013
The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) may trigger
provisions of the Dispute Resolution Commission (DRC)
in the THA Act to seek arrears of funding of hundreds
of millions of dollars in budgetary allocations dating
back to 2010.
The statement was made by THA Finance and Enter-
prise Development Secretary, Assemblyman Joel Jack, at
yesterday s post --- executive council media briefing.
Jack said: "We have that mechanism at our disposal
and I believe that at the conclusion of our deliberation
(with the Minister of Finance) that might be one of the
options available to us.
"In addition to getting this year s arithmetic correct
we also have the issue of previous year s balances that
are owed to the THA."
Jack said beyond the legal measure in terms of financing
Tobago s developmental agenda a THA team, led by Chief
Secretary Orville London, recommended to the minister,
if he was unable to fund Tobago s development needs,
to allow the THA under the
law to float two Tobago
Development Bonds, a billion
dollars this year and a billion
dollars in another year.
He added that in the light
of the strong credit rating of
BAA 1 by Moody s Investors
Services, the liquidity in the
banking system, as well as
low interest rates and the
recent FCB public share offer,
he believed that investors in
the market were looking to park their funds.
Jack added: "The assembly has the ability to approach
the bond market. We have taken the necessary steps to
do so and I believe it is time.
"We cannot be shackled in terms of Tobago s devel-
opmental agenda to be constrained by subvention budg-
eting and subvention financing.
"I believe that we are at a critical juncture in Tobago s
development and the response to the mandate given to
us by the people. It is time that the Minister of Finance
sits and discusses with us by the end of September an
amicable solution to this issue."
Jack, who was commenting on the $61.3 billion budget
presented to Howai on Monday, said while there were
some positives in the budget, "we in the THA are con-
cerned with the allocation to Tobago.
"I want to clear up a misnomer that people are thinking
that the assembly received 5.39 per cent of the budget.
That has to be corrected. At the barest minimum the
assembly received 4.03 per cent and there is a bit of con-
tention about it," he added.
He said what the minister added to the THA allo-
cation of $2.477 billion was the over $800 million allo-
cated to other ministries within Trinidad and within
the Ministry of Tobago Development. "The assembly
has only received 4.03 per cent," he said.
Quoting from a paper given to the assembly by the
DRC, Jack said it recommended the range of 4.03 to
6.09 per cent that was related to the areas of the national
budget for which the assembly was responsible, matters
which fell primarily within the fifth schedule of the
THA Act in respect to the recurrent and development
"That clearly spells out that the DRC ruling relates
specifically to funds related to the THA," he said.
Jack said the minimum 4.03 per cent allocation
was a crude estimate of the size of the Tobago pop-
ulation which had increased and the assembly was
looking for something close to that base figure.
Additionally, he said, in the heat of the political battle
in the THA election the Prime Minister promised an
increased allocation in this year s budget. He said the
assembly hoped she would keep her word and deliver
on her promise to the people of Tobago.
The assembly will convene a two-day retreat on Sep-
tember 19 and 20 to deliberate how it would manage
financial resources going forward for the next financial
That will be followed by a motion on the matter by
Jack on September 26 at the plenary sitting of the
House of Assembly.
THA to seek budget back pay
A 34-year-old woman was shot in the head by a
stray bullet while travelling in a taxi near Laventille
Police said around 11.30 am, a gunman who was
liming with a group of men at the corner of Erica
Street and Eastern Main Road in Laventille, drew a
gun and fired several rounds indiscriminately. The
group then ran away.
The victim, Agnita Collymore, of Second Caledonia,
Morvant, who was a passenger in a taxi, was hit once
in the left side of the head.
The driver of the taxi took Collymore to the Port-
of-Spain General Hospital.
Police said the bullet was lodged in Collymore s head
and she was due to undergo emergency surgery late
yesterday evening to have it removed. She was listed
in a critical condition.
Members of the North Eastern Division Task Force
(NEDTF) led by Sgt Cornelius Samuel and Cpl Sunil
Bharath searched unsuccessfully for the shooter and
Woman critical after
being shot by stray bullet
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