Morris: ‘Do more research into development projects’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minority Leader Kelvon Morris

THA Minority Leader Kelvon Morris is calling on the PDP-led THA to do more research before it makes pronouncements on planned development projects for Tobago.

His call came after a war of words between the THA and the National Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco) over the site for the construction of a marina.

Nidco had stated on its Facebook page that in collaboration with the Ministry of Works and Transport, it applied for a certificate of environmental clearance (CEC) for a marina and related facilities at Friendship Estate in Canaan.

However, Chief Secretary Farley Augustine later sought to clarify the assembly’s position that approval was given for a marina to be built in Cove and not in Friendship Estate.

This was further reiterated by the Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and Rural Development Trevor James. James also claimed the THA was under attack as he accused Nidco of being disrespectful in its handling of the plans for the marina.

Speaking at the weekly Minority Council media briefing on Tuesday, Morris said: “We are in full support of a marina development for Tobago.

“The THA by law is an autonomous body and as a member of the assembly and as a Tobagonian, anyone or any entity that attempts to undermine or derail the authority of the THA, I would not stand idly by and watch that happen.”

Regarding the marina development project, he said the THA’s executive should engage in more research before making public statements. “It is very important we do the research before we make pronouncements on any decision.”

Waving around a document, Morris claimed there had been collaborative action between the assembly, the Government and Nidco on the proposed marina.

“This is just a small snippet of a dosage detailing the type of collaboration that went into the identification of Friendship as the preferred site for the marina, and in fact, the relationship between the THA and central government in implementing this project,” Morris said.

He said the PNM has absolutely no issue with the THA pursuing marina type developments for the island as this is important for Tobago’s tourism product. What it has a problem with is how these developments are being pursued.

With this in mind, Morris said he had questions for Secretary James.

“Who did you consult with respect to this development at King’s Bay? Did you talk to the people at King’s Bay, did you talk to the average Tobagonian in the east, who were the people consulted before you arrived at this decision with this King’s Bay development for a marina?

“Was any feasibility study done, what would have informed your decision, was there any kind of assessment or evaluation, because prior to last week or so, that was the first time we would have heard of any marina type development in King’s Bay.”

Morris wondered if this was a case of management inexperience by the PDP (Progressive Democratic Patriots) which has a 14-1 majority in the THA, plain incompetence or both.

“You really wonder what are the priorities of this administration, where is the strategic planning, is it that we just get up every morning and just decide we would throw projects all over Tobago?”

Morris invited Secretary James to speak to officials of the Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd on the issue.