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BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt APRIL 2014 • WEEK THREE
Orville London, chief secretary of the Tobago House
of Assembly (THA), is reported to have said that
notwithstanding its efforts, the THA has not been
successful in having the relatively large number of
old and unsightly structures removed from the Scar-
Among the constraints:
(1) many of these structures are located on lands
which are privately-owned and over which, in con-
sequence, the THA has no jurisdiction;
(2) initiatives taken by the THA to facilitate possible
financing by banks and other financial institutions
have not borne fruit.
London gave no specific reasons for this failure
and this writer suggests that it is incumbent upon
the THA to endeavour to discover these, failing which,
the Scarborough landscape will continue to display
generally the unsightly spectacle that now exists.
London's revelations must be seen within the con-
text of the just-concluded visit to Tobago of the IMF
country review team which had, for the very first
time, visited Tobago; a milestone since these visits
had never taken in Tobago, being concentrated solely
It is therefore relevant to this discussion to observe
that the IMF team had focused upon the tourist
industry as being the preferred path forward for the
development of Tobago.
Some of the possible reasons for the lack of incen-
tive to develop Scarborough could be:
(1) In the case of those structures which are res-
idential, is it that the occupants may be (a) either
relatively too poor or infirmed to be able to source
bank/credit union financing or (b) are they in pos-
session of proper titles to the properties they occupy;
a feature existing commonly in Tobago?
(2) With respect to those properties which now
house some form of business, it will be interesting
to discover the reasons for their reluctance to remodel
these establishments. Here one could speculate that,
assuming that they, holding undisputable titles to
these properties, their profit margins may be such
as not to engender the risks involved in sourcing
bank financing at rates now applicable.
(3) Overall, can it be that, considering the structure
of the economy of Tobago, the application of carte
blanche countrywide terms for loans, etc, by financial
institutions to Tobago, may be detrimental to its
I am wondering whether the THA has given thought
to the establishment of a Special Scarborough Devel-
opment Corporation, say, with the specific mandate
of promoting the development and beautification of
In this regard, this body would be enabled to provide
financing at concessionary terms such as would be
tailored to address the peculiar circumstances with
which Scarborough is faced. First, however a survey,
on an individual basis, should be carried out with a
view to ascertaining the reasons for the reluctance
Errol OC Cupid
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