THA to set up team to oversee Scarborough project

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine –

The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) plans to establish a committee to oversee the Scarborough redevelopment project.

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine made the announcement on Wednesday at the close of a virtual public stakeholder consultation on the project, which was conceptualised by the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development.

He said the decision was taken at Wednesday’s executive council meeting.

“As an executive, one of the things we have discussed and considered is that we need to install almost immediately a Scarborough development committee, a committee that will have some measure of oversight over all that we are doing.”

Augustine said although the division initiated the project, it should not be the only entity involved.

“As much as this is a brainchild of secretary (Trevor) James, it is not secretary James’ project. This is Tobago’s project. This is all ah we own.”

Augustine said it was James who suggested an oversight committee. It will include a civil engineer, town planner, architect, coastal engineer, businessmen, a tourism stakeholder, tropical landscaper and someone versed in the history of Scarborough.

Saying the project is to be undertaken in phases, Augustine said the council is looking at initiatives that can be tackled almost immediately.

He said the Botanic Gardens can be restored to what “a modern green space or park should look and feel like: a place where families can go and have picnics and not be worried about security issues or worried that the bottom of the park is always muddy or wet whenever the rain falls.”

They may also remove unsightly overhead lines.

“My God, TSTT and T&TEC have done us quite an injustice, just leaving a lot of old lines to obscure the view, not caring to run the lines properly at all.”

Augustine said the town must also have, as a matter of urgency, a transport hub.

“Coming from the countryside and knowing what it is to catch car and catch bus, I have been arguing for a long time that one of the things we need to do within this four years is to ensure we have a transportation hub that will allow for the efficient dissemination of public transport, and that we ought to attach to our buses GPS locators.”

Augustine said derelict buildings must be torn down, and some stores needed a facelift.

“Maybe we need to buy some buckets of paint so that these stores that have not had a painting in donkey years would at least paint their store front, at least have a nice sign.”

Augustine, who is also the Secretary of Finance and the Economy, stressed: “Tobago, we have to get started. We have been complaining about Scarborough for a long time. And as your chief secretary, I am here to tell you we have to get started soon.”

If the work does not begin, he said, it will be on “somebody’s shelves somewhere just picking up dust.”

He wanted people must take pride in the project.

“If you want to see Scarborough look better, then you can’t be dropping garbage at the side of the road. If you own private property in Scarborough and the building is hundreds of years old and you have not maintained it and it looks as if it is falling over on top of people, we should not have to come to nail up a notice to tell you break down the building. That is your personal responsibility.”

Augustine said a redeveloped Scarborough must be efficient, conducive to business and promote economic growth and social inclusion.