Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tobago delivers budget on June 20

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles, second from right, shares a light moment with Secretary of Finance and the Economy Joel Jack, second from left, Secretary of Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour Marslyn Melville-Jack, right, and Administrator in the Finance Division, Cherryl-Ann Solomon, during the June 8 commissioning ceremony for the Argyle Micro Enterprise Centre.

Tobago's budget request for the 2017-2018 fiscal year will be presented on June 20, from 10 a.m.

This was confirmed on June 7 by Finance and the Economy Secretary Joel Jack during the post-executive council media briefing at the Administrative Complex, Calder Hall.

Jack said the budget presentation will focus on development opportunities, including “human capital development, innovation and energy, supporting growth in the tourism sector, empowering communities, simulating community entrepreneurship, boosting the health sector, economic resilience, [and] infrastructure development.”

He said the THA's efforts will be guided by the mantra of the current administration: “business as unusual”.

“We'll continue in our efforts in terms of the prudent management of financial resources of the people of Tobago,” Jack said.

“In spite of the recent negative economic indicators nationally, let me say that we remain steadfast as we explore new and dynamic ideas and workable solutions to advance Tobago's socioeconomic agenda.”

It will be the fifth time Jack delivers Tobago's budget.

Focus on quality, community


Work quality and community development will be the focus from now on, where school maintenance in Tobago is concerned.

This is the assurance from Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles, who is also the Secretary of Education, Innovation and Energy. He was speaking during a stakeholder information session for pre-qualified contractors at the Anne E Mitchell-Gift Auditorium, at the Scarborough Library on June 5.

Charles said value for money is critical.

“This call is to ensure that there are standards in the quality of work by contractors who are given the job, with the new approach being rooted in community development,” Charles said.

The session was hosted by the division's Project Implementation Unit, which is planning the upcoming 2017 July/August School Repair Programme.


Tobago Dragon Boat Festival turns 7


This year, 22 teams from this country will compete in the annual Tobago Dragon Boat Festival, which runs from June 17-18, from 9 a.m. each day.

The two-day event will be hosted at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park, by the Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation, in collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago Dragon Boat Federation. This year, the festival, which is celebrating its seventh anniversary, will see action in both the junior and senior categories. Admittance is $20.

The three teams representing Tobago in the competition this year are WASA Aqua Force, Oceanus Club and the Division's DOTT Conquerors.

'Jazz' task force gets to work


Dr Keith Nurse will lead the Evaluation and Strategic Task Force to review the Tobago Jazz Experience.

This was announced on June 7 by the Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation. Dr Nurse met with members of the events Planning Committee at the division recently for initial talks and data gathering.

Dr Nurse is an experienced, T&T-born economics and tourism expert, who is currently based in Barbados.

The task force also includes Carlos Hazel, an economist with the THA's Division of Finance and the Economy; George Leacock, who will be representing the local entertainment sector; Yvette Hector-Granville, an accounting and auditing professional; and attorney-at-law Gareth Caesar.

The task force will review the festival to determine its future viability, including the socio-economic benefits for Tobago.

Data gathering will include a series of focus groups to be conducted with stakeholders, including Caribbean Airlines, the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association, port and airport officials and Tobago Jazz Experience sponsors.

Positive signs for the economy


Global economic growth prospects are encouraging for Tobago's development.

So said Secretary of Finance Jack. The secretary says, despite some recent negative indicators for the national economy, Tobago is keen to explore innovative solutions that will facilitate development, especially with promising global projections. “These positive signals are hinged on the recent statements by the International Monetary Fund revising the global economic outlook and their focus for global growth from 3.4 per cent to 3.5 per cent in 2017,” Jack stated.

The IMF is also projecting a positive outlook for the region, and the secretary is optimistic following central government's mid-term economic review.

He said there is positive news on oil production, inflation and unemployment, which stayed below five per cent.


Tobago marks World Oceans Day


Tobago commemorated World Oceans Day 2017 on June 8 with an Information Forum and Booth Display.

The programme took place at Fort Granby, Studley Park. The global theme for World Ocean's Day this year is: “Our Oceans, Our Future”.

The forum explored the functions of oceans and resources within them, the problem of plastic pollution and its effects on human and marine life, solutions to the problem, including recycling, research and awareness campaigns; and issues like sustainable fishing methods.

Next month, the Division of Food Production, Forestry and Fisheries will continue its ocean awareness activities with a Coastal Revivification Drive at Iguana Bay in Belle Garden on July 3.

The clean-up activities will begin at 7 a.m.