Monday, December 31, 2012

PNM has nothing to offer people of Tobago: PM Kamla

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar went to Tobago Sunday to tell the people of the island why they should reject the People's National Movement in next month's Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election and elect a new team led by Ashworth Jack and his Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP).

She said she is sure there would be a change of administration at the THA after the January 21 vote because Chief Secretary Orville London have failed to deliver on the promises they made to them.

"The THA spent $17billion and has not been able to show real improvement in the quality of life of the people of Tobago," she said. 

"They have failed miserably in growing the economy in Tobago and creating sustainable jobs, she added, outlining other areas of failure. She said the PNM THA administration failed in:
  • improving the education sector in Tobago
  • the fight against crime in Tobago 
  • improving health care in Tobago 
  • improving the quality of life of the people of Tobago
"While they promised and did not deliver to Tobago people, they have been delivering to their friends...MILSHERV friends, for example, and so many others you would know of."

The Prime Minister said unlike the PNM her government is committed to Tobago and to maintaining a relationship between Trinidad and Tobago based on equality and mutual respect.
"We respect the right of the people of Tobago for internal self-government along lines that are mutually agreeable to both islands and which preserves the relationship between both of us.

"We believe that the interest of Tobago will be better served with a TOP THA. We believe that the people of Tobago should be given a greater voice in the development of Tobago through more active collaboration and consensus building 
"We believe that the talent of Tobago must continue to be attracted to remain and develop Tobago and that the brain drain must be halted. 
"We believe that more opportunities for self-empowerment through higher education and skills training must be introduced in Tobago 
"We believe that Tobago must once again become the mecca of tourism in the Caribbean 
"We believe that Tobago must preserve its heritage and cultural traditions and must become a heritage country in line with UN definition of heritage sites." 

She noted that detractors of the government have been saying that her administration has been treating Tobago with a lack of respect. She responded to that by outlining some of her government's achievements and asked if such a record of performance shows disrespect.

One of the outstanding achievements, she said, was a great tribute paid "to son of the soil Mr. Arthur N R Robinson by renaming the airport in his honour." Another, she added, was ensuring that the Tobago hospital was completed despite the heavy cost overruns.
"Our Government has also invested in new aircraft for the Tobago air bridge as well as they have kept the subsidy on tickets intact. 
"We have also established institutions in Tobago to provide on-island opportunities for training and personal development. 
"The Roxborough gas station is also about to be commissioned. National Gas Company has built a facility to receive natural gas in Tobago at Cove Estate...

"In terms of tourism, the establishment of a $250 million dollar support fund for the refurbishing of hotel rooms etc is also worthy of note and commendation." Others include:
  • Tobago Tourism Attaches
  • Land Reform
  • NESC/PTSC Trade School
  • Police Stations at Roxborough and Old Grange
  • Upgrade of ANR Robinson International Airport
  • Government Loan Guarantee (GLG) Programme
  • Construction of a Magistrate Court in Roxborough
The Prime Minister said beginning in Jaunary all SDA Schools would be classified as government assisted schools, meaning the state would pay Teacher Salaries & Student Tuition Fees.

Plans are well underway for the the Integrated University Campus, Home for Abused/Homeless Children, making Tobago a Duty-Free Zone and a Marina in Tobago West.

With respect to security, Persad-Bissessar said that on Christmas Eve the state completed the installation of 146 closed circuit television cameras across the island. And she said any person with a private CCTV system can apply to have the system integrated into the island-wide grid at no cost.

She also addressed the PNM's campaign issue of "protecting Tobago", noting that the propaganda is that PP supporters would take over the island if the TOP wins the election. Nothing is further from the truth, she assured her audience.

Persad-Bissessar explained that there are no laws preventing anyone from moving and if people wanted to move to Tobago they could have done that at any time. She said the PNM is raising this non-issue because it is unable to show what it has done with $17 billion dollars over the past 12 years to enhance the lives of the people of Tobago.

She also noted that the PNM never had a plan for Tobago, which is why the island has suffered such neglect. Persad-Bissesar said that same kind iof neglect and rural underdevelopment characterised the PNM administration's treatment of communities in Trinidad as well.

"The people suffered in Trinidad too, but they suffered more in Tobago," she said. She said no one has any wish or desire to "invade" Tobago and declared that under her administration there will always be equal space and equal treatment for everyone.

She also knocked the PNM argument that if TOP wins the THA would be controlled by the central government. That's not so, she said. "Anyone who knows Jack knows that nobody could control him," she said. She added that the London PNM has been controlled by the PNM in Port of Spain because of a fundamental difference in the structure of the two political parties.

She said London is not the leader of the PNM so he must take instructions from his leader whereas Jack leads his party and take instructions from no one. In that context, she said, TOP is the only true Tobago party.

She urged Tobagonians to make the right choice and elect the TOP team to run the affairs of their island.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai