Augustine: Approval given for marina at Cove, not Friendship

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Approval was given for a marina at Cove and not at Friendship Estate, THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine has said.

He was responding to questions from reporters on plans by the National Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (NIDCO) for a marina at Friendship Estate.

Last Monday, NIDCO posted on Facebook that in collaboration with the Ministry of Works and Transport, it had applied for a certificate of environmental clearance (CEC) for a marina and related facilities at Friendship Estate in Canaan, Tobago.

Since then, the THA has accused NIDCO of being disrespectful, saying it had no such information.

Attempts by Newsday to get clarification from NIDCO on its marina proposal have been unsuccessful.

Speaking at the Victor E Bruce Financial Complex in Scarborough on Friday, Augustine said: “I can tell you that there were discussions between the THA and the Central Government about a marina down at Cove, but there never was discussions nor agreement with a marina at Friendship.”

He added: “Even if there was agreement, there is a new (THA) executive, and good manners would only mean that you talk with us. The truth is that the Secretary for Infrastructure wrote them (NIDCO) trying to get a meeting with NIDCO, and NIDCO, said, ‘Well, we don’t meet with secretaries,’ which I think is really, really out of place, to put it nicely.

“Because the THA Act says ministers and secretaries ought to have frequent conversations, and if ministers and secretaries can have conversations, why can’t a state agency have conversations with a secretary? I don’t understand that at all.”

He said had the discussion been entertained, information would have been shared and NIDCO would be clear about the assembly’s objectives.

“There won’t be this stepping on the THA Act by NIDCO. It is a pattern with NIDCO that has to be nipped in the bud and by sending that legal letter, I have given very clear indication to NIDCO that we would not tolerate that kind of behaviour.”

He sent as a result, a legal letter has been sent to NIDCO by the THA’s senior legal state counsel.

“I have not received a response from them, but the letter was also copied to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works, It was also copied to the statutory bodies like the EMA, and it details the history of that property at Friendship.”

Newsday’s attempts to contact NIDCO chairman Herbert George for a response to Augustine’s claims have been unsuccessful.

Speaking at last Wednesday’s post-Executive council, Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development Trevor James said the THA was under attack, in reference to the project.

He was adamant that no marina would be built at Friendship Estate and called on Tobagonians to be aware of their rights being trampled. He said a notice of the expression of interest to build a marina at King’s Bay would soon be issued, adding that King’s Bay was the ideal location for a marina.

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