Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 19th 2013 Contents BG10 | NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt DECEMBER 2013 • WEEK THREE
Faced with a massive shortfall in its request for
developmental funding from the central Government,
Tobago s Secretary of Finance and Enterprise Devel-
opment, Joel Jack, has announced the establishment
of a Tobago Development Authority with mandate
to attract and evaluate build-own-lease-transfer (BOLT)
arrangements between private companies and the
The move comes months after the THA was suc-
cessful in its battle with the central Government to
allow the construction of a $143 million headquarters
for its Division of Agriculture. The project was mired
in controversy with the central Government led by
the Attorney General alleging corruption and putting
a stop to the project. The AG then took the THA to
court, but withdrew his legal challenge and the Finance
Minister allowed it to proceed.
Jack said while the THA had learned the lessons
from the Milsherv project, it was now taking action
to ensure the island s development is not stymied by
a lack of funding.
"We also propose to activate the Tobago Project
Development Authority, with the appointment of a
board of directors, consisting of very experienced and
capable individuals with proven track records, to
manage the initial stages of PPP administration in the
Assembly. The board will have as its immediate mandate
the undertaking of requests for proposals on design-
build-finance projects and the establishment of a
tender committee, among other duties."
Jack said the THA has also agreed to establish a
Public Private Partnership Unit within the Division of
Finance and Enterprise Development. He explained
that the PPP Unit will consist of a mix of seasoned
professionals in the technical area of project finance.
He added that as the Project Development Authority
becomes fully engaged in its work, the PPP Unit could
be made to fall under its operational ambit.
Jack identified several projects in Tobago.
• The Administrative Building for the Division of
• The Bacolet Indoor Complex and Aquatic Centre
• the construction of factory shells at Cove
• And public housing development
Jack said notwithstanding the importance and
urgency of these projects, there needed to be proper
planning and transparency in the awards.
"We believe that the key procedural, procurement
and due diligence lessons drawn from the Milshirv
experience will need to be brought to bear in under-
taking any BOLT-type financial arrangements for these
and other projects."
In the case of the housing shortage in Tobago, Jack
said to close the gap between the demand and supply,
there needed to be funding instruments and method-
ologies that would allow the Assembly, the developer
and the homeowner to collaborate, given the limited
resources that may be available at every level.
He suggested that while various other approaches
are possible, a PPP process involving the allocation
of lands to a developer, or several developers with the
home owner, and not the Assembly, being the ultimate
Jack said there were a number of projects which
had to be bought to the island and that sig-
nificant work can begin towards developing
a project pipeline using established practices,
such as feasibility and pre-investment stud-
He said Tobago has to consider:
• expanded tourism facilities, such as a
• a marina
• a new cargo port to facilitate economic
diversification, specifically at Cove
• road and highway construction
• medical tourism facilities
• the proposed specialist clinic project at
• administrative buildings for all Divisions
of the THA except for Finance.
The High Court is expected to determine
next year if BOLT type of arrangements can
be considered borrowing on the part of the
THA and if so, then the Finance Minister
will have to approve all such arrangements.
Funding shortfall the reason
for THA's BOLT-type projects
While the THA had learned
the lessons from the Milsherv
project, it was now taking
action to ensure the island's
development is not stymied
by a lack of funding.
Tobago's Joel Jack:
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