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Govt promises $34m more goodies for Tobago

By Ria Taitt Political Editor

With ten days to go for the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election, the People's Partnership Government is announcing more benefits for the people of Tobago.

Cabinet yesterday agreed to purchase a Modular Cardiac Catheterisation Lab and an MRI machine at a cost of $34 million for the island, said Tobago Minister Delmon Baker.

Speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference, Baker said the lab was used for procedures such as angiograms, pacemaker implantation and other coronary interventions.

He said given the number of amputations which take place in Tobago due to vascular diseases related to diabetes and hypertension, the acquisition of the lab would help to save life and limb.

Baker also had good news for senior public servants in Tobago. He said the Government had promised to have the positions of administrator and clerk of the Tobago House of Assembly reviewed and, in keeping with that pledge, had placed them under the Salaries Review Commission.

The Commission in its 97th Report recommended that the salary of an administrator be placed at Group 4 (b) of top managers in the public service with a salary of $17,100. Transport allowance, subsistence, vacation, telephone allowance, medical benefits and gratuity would also be enhanced.

The clerk of the THA will now receive a salary of $13,700 and other benefits.

Baker and Ministers Ganga Singh and Vasant Bharath, who were present at the post-Cabinet news conference, stressed that a meeting on Wednesday in Tobago with representatives of Tobago and several Cabinet ministers principally had to do with Government business, not the THA election campaign.

Baker said the Ministry of Tobago Development was charged with the responsibility of ensuring that all the manifesto promises, as well as projects listed by the various ministries for Tobago, are executed on behalf of the people of Tobago in a timely manner.

"What has been happening is that the Minister of Tobago Development and a project team would fly to Trinidad and meet with individual ministers or a group of ministers on particular matters. We have used that mode of operation with several projects in Tobago.

"It is difficult to grab the Minister for Tobago Development and all of the ministry's team and bring them to Trinidad at this point in time. My constituency has five electoral districts for which my colleagues are running and we have to be interfacing with them and ensure they get all the support they need during this critical period (of the THA election).

"So I am glad that my (ministerial colleagues), understanding that, decided that instead of having Baker fly, they came to meet with me," he said.

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