Augustine eyes THA outpost in Trinidad

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


The International Waterfront, Port of Spain, . – JEFF K MAYERS

The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) is eyeing the construction of a THA office in Trinidad in 2022.

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine said, “This is something we campaigned on. Having that outpost in Trinidad that will allow for us to market Tobago goods, to speak to the challenges faced by Tobagonians living there, to attract investors and engage investors in Tobago, to pursue Tobago autonomy issues and to help with the re-education of Trinidadians about Tobago’s drive for self-determination.”

Augustine made the announcement as he addressed members of the media virtually during a special post-Executive Council media briefing after its retreat on Sunday.

Augustine also said the Office of the Deputy Chief Secretary will be “built out and opened” as a stand-alone division in the first quarter of 2022. Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) leader Watson Duke is the Deputy Chief Secretary.

He said this decision was made in accordance with the THA Act.

“The THA Act says that the executive council is made up of the chief secretary, the deputy chief secretary and not more than seven other secretaries – that makes it nine. So the office of the deputy chief secretary will remain a standalone entity in this dispensation until I may choose to reconsider it.”

Questioned about the office of the deputy chief secretary and its role and function in the Tobago space, he said: “One of the reasons why the office of the deputy chief secretary has not been opened as yet is because MSU – which is the Management Services Unit which is a part of the public service operations in Tobago for matters like this, they are actually engaged in building out the structure of it.”

He said previously, there were times when the Office of the Chief Secretary was a standalone division, making reference to former chief secretary Orville London who was not in charge of any other divisions.

“It’s not abnormal for a Chief Secretary or a Deputy Chief Secretary to not have another portfolio – the law allows for it.”

He said as soon as the structure is completed by MSU, it would be made public.

Augustine also noted that the THA has made no decision on whether to adopt the government’s policy for unvaccinated public servants.

He said workers who are paid by central government will have to follow the policy outlined by the Prime Minister, but THA workers are yet to be given any directive on that matter.

Augustine said any THA supervisor making a determination on workers’ availability for employment based on their vaccination status is doing so without the support of the THA.