THA stage in the sea cost $1.75m

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Masqueraders enjoy themselves on the stage in the sea durong the parade of the bands at Tobago carnival, on October 30. Photo by David Ried

THA Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development Trevor James has said the final cost to construct the controversial stage in the sea at Rockly Bay, Milford Road, Scarborough, before Tobago’s inaugural carnival from October 28-30 was $1,758,350.

He was responding to questions from Minority Leader Kelvon Morris during Thursday’s plenary sitting at the Assembly Legislature, Scarborough.

James also revealed the contract was awarded to a Tobago company, Shuffle Equipment Rental, of Pembroke.

The stage became a focal point when the Environmental Management Authority said in October that it was one of several infrastructural projects the THA was undertaking without the requisite certificates of environmental clearance. It never got EMA approval.

It was also recently revealed on social media that cracks had developed closer to the seaward side of the structure.

James and Morris briefly locked horns at the sitting when the latter asked if the paving on the project was subcontracted to a Trinidad company.

James responded, “Contractors do not need the approval of the division to award subcontracts.”

Morris asked pointedly, “Can he confirm whether the subcontracted company was California Stucco company?”

James replied, “Let me say again, subcontracts are not awarded by the THA under the Division of Infrastructure, and that question is better directed to the contractor.”

Morris said he could not believe that some $1.7 million was spent “to see rocks wash away in the sea and people cannot eat, people cannot get food.

“Is that the best use of taxpayers’ money?”

James said his degree was in project management, and not economics.

“I don’t know whether that overall expenditure of $1.7 million is counterproductive to the development of Tobago, or whether that being assigned somewhere else would change the social problems that we have.”