THE Tobago House of Assembly Minority leader Kelvon Morris has raised concerns about the expenses and planning arrangements for a Tobago team to participate in the Dubai Expo 2020 in the United Arab Emirates.During a session in Dubai on a blueprint for smarter cities, THA Deputy Chief Secretary Watson Duke identified ten zones to modernise the village of Roxborough, last Thursday, at the TT Business Forum and National Day event.
In what he described as “the City of Roxborough,” Duke promoted investment possibilities for a light manufacturing and free-trade zone, civil centre, medical tourism, Kendal Agriculture institute, boardwalk, airport and aviation and marine institute, new overwater causeway, marina, medical complex, housing and a new marina bay island.
But Morris said he was left confused and concerned by this, “because, as a matter of fact, the question to be asked first and foremost is, who approved that proposal? In fact, as far as I know, that is the first time anybody would have seen any kind of discussion on a ‘City of Roxborough.'”Most plans like that should have special development approvals, so that you’re prepared when you’re going to sell something. It’ll be because you have the requisite approval and its programmes and projects that are ready to go, and you can’t be going out there with something that you would have conjured up in your head, and nobody in Tobago had an input.”
Morris said he was dissatisfied with the way the island was “sold” and judging from Duke’s presentation, he thinks Tobago did not get value for money.
He is also awaiting a response from the assembly at the next plenary giving an account of how much was spent on the trip.
Morris said he had received complaints and seen comments from Tobagonians concerned over the money used to send the THA team to the expo.”We have already filed a question in the assembly legislature treating with all things associated with the trip – the cost, the purpose – and we are hoping that they will give us a full report and a full account on what was intended, what was achieved and also an explanation for why it was kept in secret. Because as far as we understand, the trip was so poorly organised.
Morris said he was concerned that the Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd CEO Louis Lewis did not make a presentation at the expo. Contacted by Newsday, the agency said its presentation is available online.