Friday, December 15, 2017

Probe 'willy-nilly' distribution of hampers

THA chief calls on PM:

Orville London, Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), has called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to launch an investigation into the "willy-nilly" distribution of Government food cards to undeserving recipients in villages in Tobago.

London said the food card distribution is a ploy being used to win votes for the People's Partnership coalition partner, the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP), in the upcoming THA election.

The THA election is due by January 25 next year.

London, deputy political leader of the People's National Movement (PNM), made the statements as he launched the party's re-election campaign at Buccoo, Tobago on Thursday night.

London described the election as the "big one" and said voters had a choice between the PNM, which has stood by the people over the years, as against the TOP and the People's Partnership who were going all over Tobago "lifting up stones to look for dirt".

London said an energy expert had informed the THA that United Kingdom firm Centrica had identified proven gas reserves of 1.5 trillion cubic feet off Tobago.

He said the expert made a presentation to the THA's executive council last Wednesday, expressing his concern over what was happening with the energy resources off Tobago.

London said these proven reserves were equivalent to 200 million cubic feet of gas per day over a 20-year period.

"In other words they can take out over 20 million cubic feet a day for 20 years and to make it very simple that is equivalent to 30,000 barrels of oil per day and therefore he was saying that, at the minimum, the absolute minimum, because you can get up to US$5 to US$6. (At) US$2.50 per million cubic feet, you will generate up to US$80 million a year."

He noted that this was one of the six areas in deep water that have been given out by this Government and the previous government for companies to drill.

London said he also wanted to put in context what the minority Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) and the Central Government and their partners have been doing.

He said the resources were in deep water outside the 12-mile limit but within the 200-mile limit.

"When TOP leader Ashworth Jack tells the people of Tobago that the PNM must not vote against the THA Act when it comes to Parliament, a THA Act that says 12 miles, what Ashworth Jack is in fact telling the people of Tobago that he has declared that all the generations of Tobagonians from here on in would never have access to all these resources which the good Lord has placed there for us as Tobagonians."