Tobago Chamber head on $50m stimulus fund: It comes across as bribery

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Dianne Hadad

Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce president Diane Hadad has described as “bribery,” the Government’s $50 million stimulus fund for the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) to assist hoteliers and displaced workers in the tourism sector.

Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis announced the measure on Wednesday at the post executive council news conference.

Dennis said apart from assisting retrenched workers, hoteliers and guest-house operators in the accommodation sector, a portion of the money will also be used to digitise businesses in the tourism sector.

Hadad said while she is grateful for the relief that is being given to workers who have either been retrenched or struggling to make ends meet as a result of covid19, the $50 million disbursement “comes across now as bribery.”

She added, “It has nothing to do with paying people in time of need when they were struggling during covid(19) to get a meal. And they were suffering from the entitlements that they should have gotten, the allowances, the grants to get them through the period. So that is very disheartening and disappointing.”

Hadad said if this is the case, elections should be held every six months in order for things to happen in the country.

“That is a very sad state of affairs because the formula only can create itself to be classified as bribery all over and over again. That cannot be sustainable. It is obviously a formula for fools and I would hate to think that we are a country of fools so that our intellect needs not to be insulted like this.”

Hadad also questioned whether the funding will be given to those most in need.

“I am particularly happy for the sector to get relief but how far will it go? How will it be distributed? Would it be for persons who are genuinely in need or is it going to have a number of questions and answers around it after all is said and done. These are the crucial points that we must stick to when we are addressing scenarios in our country and particularly on our island of Tobago.”