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Aripo Savannas Highway Case
FFOS commends Dr. Terrence Farrell

FFOS commends Dr. Terrence Farrell

Date: November 12th 2017

Dear Editor/Newsroom,

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) commend Dr. Terrence Farrell, Chairman of the Government appointed Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) on his reported statements made at the Ministry of Planning and Development and EDAB’s event entitled “Promoting Innovation for Diversification : Moving Forward” reported on November 9, 2017.

It is not often that we witness a government appointed technocrat showing the upright fortitude to call “a spade, a spade”. Dr. Farrell questioned the proposed construction of the $400 million highway known as the Manzanilla Highway, in light of the financial challenges facing Trinidad and Tobago and the need to ensure prioritisation of public sector infrastructure programs. Noting, that talks are underway to bring Sandals Resort to Tobago, Dr. Farrell asked “Without being critical, why am I (the T&T Government) building a $400M highway (from Cumuto to Sangre Grande) and I don’t have the Tobago Airport in my Public Sector Infrastructure Program (PSIP) this year?….The Tobago airport was in the PSIP a couple of years ago, it needs to be there. If Sandals is coming to Tobago for tourism, that airport has to be completely upgraded”.

Bearing in mind the $500 million paid out to the french Consultants “Bouygues”, for that feasibility study for the previously proposed rapid rail project, FFOS question the content and cost of the unknown “Toco Port” feasibility study and ask why this study has not yet been made public? Can we afford this at this time? Is this the best development model? It seems that this rural Highway is the top national priority, but why? Shouldn’t the Oncology Center be completed first?

While the tourism product has collapsed both here and in Tobago it does not seem to be on Cabinets radar in any sustainable way. Sandals, the proposed and touted end user of an upgraded airport in Tobago also seems to be a low priority while one is left to wonder if the PSIP is a Cabinet plaything. FFOS congratulate Dr. Farrell, on his responsible citizenship by calling out the party in power that appointed him to chair its advisory body on economic development for what would appear to be misguided prioritisation.

Unless our Honorable members of Cabinet conduct its public administration in a consultative, planned, prudent and business-like manner the vagaries of International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditionalities will once again wreak havoc on our vulnerable and voiceless communities.

Sincerely, Gary Aboud Corporate Secretary – FFOS

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