Shamfa: No money pass on Goodwood bridge project

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Tobago West MP Shamfa Cudjoe addresses a PNM Tobago Council meeting at Buccoo Community Centre on Sunday. – David Reid

Tobago West MP Shamfa Cudjoe is calling on the current THA Administration led by Chief Secretary Farley Augustine to settle down and serve the people.

Cudjoe was speaking during Sunday’s public meeting hosted by the People’s National Movement (PNM) Tobago Council at the Buccoo Community Centre.

She said: “The Tobago House of Assembly under this new administration is halting projects that was started by the People’s National Movement to try to give people the impression that the PNM is suffering them.”

Speaking specifically of Grande Gully, Goodwood, Cudjoe, the Sport and Community Development Minister, said the administration is not telling the truth about a plan to build a bridge.

Residents of the area have been using a 12-inch concrete slab to cross the river but during the rainy season, the river becomes swollen and impassable. The aim is to erect a prefabricated single lane 36-foot bridge.

Former PNM finance secretary Joel Jack, second from right, with supporters during the Tobago Council’s meeting at Buccoo Community Centre on Sunday. – David Reid

However, recently Augustine when questioned about the bridge said that the project which is under the Central Government was halted although “money was passed.” He assured the current administration would get the job done.

But according to Cudjoe, on June 9, 2020, the Self-Help Commission signed a contract with the Tobago House of Assembly to provide the people of the area with the bridge. She said in November the bridge was completed and delivered, but confirmed there were problems in implementing the project as it would have changed the watercourse and the roadway would have had to be diverted into the lands of a private resident. She said the landowner agreed, but then the administration changed. The PNM lost control of the THA when the Progressive Democratic Patriots won the 2021 elections. Farley and the assembly have since resigned from the PDP and are now independents. They have become part of the Tobago People’s party of which Farley is the interim leader.

“They are trying to spread the same lies and infiltrate the same kind of hatred that brought them into government. Telling the people that PNM so wicked that some money passed and so on,” Cudjoe said on Sunday.

She added, “No money en pass. The agreement was for Self Help to purchase the bridge and hand it over to the Tobago House of Assembly and the DIQUD division would use their own labour in-house to set up the bridge. As simple as that. What money pass you telling the people about, what lies you telling the people trying to paint a bad picture of the National Self Help Commission. What are you doing that for? What are you still telling lies for – you already win the seat, settle down and do the work, settle down and serve the people.” DIQUD is the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development.

Noting that the PNM has delivered, she boasted about the party’s leadership over the last 21 years as she called on Tobagonians to wake up and “mind your business.”

“PNM people wake up, Tobagonians wake up – Farley them could shame me, what have they done? What have they done to stand next to me?

She said, “If you feeding the people with lies, then they don’t have the information to make the accurate decision. So, PNM-ites, you may tell yourself – well people didn’t vote because people didn’t come out election day. It’s not about people coming out election day, that’s an old thing. The thing has changed, we live in an information age, and you see the information that you put out there, it affects whether people decide to get up and go to the polls, and what they do when they go to the polls. You have a duty, you are duty bound to manage the information that the electorate receive and when you hear lies, call it out.”