The Prime Minister declared on Tuesday he makes no apologies for the money that has been spent on Tobago’s development within the past few years.
“As leader of this government, and as a fellow Tobagonian, I make no apologies for anybody for the government’s prioritisation of the development of Tobago, all of Tobago,” he declared. “Because I am confident that a better developed Tobago is a stronger TT and that Tobago has far more to contribute to TT, once it is given the opportunity to make that contribution.”
Dr Rowley was delivering the feature address at the official opening of the Roxborough Hospital.
The 21-bed facility, constructed by China Railway Construction Co Ltd, was completed in 18 months at a cost of $98 million. The project was managed by Udecott.
Saying the people of Tobago East have much to be proud of, Rowley added there will be naysayers.
“In Tobago East, I know there are people who will complain, because there are some people, if the angel Gabriel come down here, they have a problem with the wings.”
Nevertheless, he listed the projects that have been undertaken in Roxborough within the past few years.
“We have a secondary school right here on this street (Bloody Bay Road). In recent times, it was upgraded, because we always give priority to our future, our children, their future, their education.
“Then you have in recent years, the administrative complex, a new gas station, police station, fire station and new hospital.”
The PM said although the facilities were not constructed at the same time, “it has been accelerated by this Government, and we are far better off today than we were five or ten years ago.”
Referring to Tobago’s development generally, Rowley said the ANR Robinson Airport expansion project will bring tremendous benefits to the island’s tourism sector. He said the airport’s existing layout is “completely unacceptable” for air travel.
“We are committed to building a proper terminal in Tobago.”
Rowley claimed some airlines have already told local authorities they will not fly to Tobago if the airport is not upgraded. He said the project, when completed, will boost Tobago’s tourism sector.
Rowley also said TT will emerge from the impact of covid19.
He asked the audience: “When last you went on a cruise or saw and advertisement for a cruise ship or travelled on an international flight?
“But it is not going to remain like that forever. When this period is over, human beings will begin to travel again, and the best time to build a fire station is when there is no fire.
“So we are now preparing Tobago, in difficult economic circumstances, for that time when tourism once again becomes an attractive pastime for those who want to come to us in the future. We are preparing for our future, and that is why I am optimistic, because we have a future, because the world has a future and Tobago has a future as part of that world.”
Rowley said the airport project will also provide jobs for skilled and unskilled Tobagonians.
“At the end of the day, we wait, in hope and great optimism that tourism will return because it is an area of great strength.”