Thursday, February 22, 2018

US$50m IDB loan agreement to help improve water supply in Tobago

A US$50 million loan agreement was signed between Government and the Inter American Development Bank for a project in Tobago which will see improved water supply to the people of Scarborough, says Finance Minister Winston Dookeran.

In addition, TT$2.5 million will be accessed through a grant from the IDB toward this project, to be signed in March.

Dookeran spoke of the project as he wound up debate on the Finance Bill at the Senate sitting on Tuesday at Tower D, Waterfront Complex, Port of Spain.

"I have before me a loan contract that was actually signed between Trinidad and Tobago and the Inter American Development Bank, November 30, 2011, and the subject of this loan-WASA modernisation and waste water infrastructure rehabiliation," said Dookeran.

He said the Scarborough waste water plant was abandoned in 1990 and it had only facilitated 430 people.

Dookeran said with the completion of the project some 1,100 to 1,400 new customers in Scarborough will benefit. Dookeran was responding to concerns raised by Opposition Senator Shamfa Cudjoe who said that last week she attended an IADB meeting in Jamaica to look at the Caribbean Regional Fund for Waste water Management.

Cudjoe said since 2008 Trinidad and Tobago had been in discussions with the IDB to access funds for the waste water project.

She said at the meeting last week, she was told by IADB officials that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago was holding back the process, giving commitments but not taking forward action.

"I must say Mr President that I was particularly embarrassed to be the person representing Trinidad and Tobago at that meeting," she said.

Public Utilities Minister Emmanuel George interjected telling Cudjoe that her information was wrong and she was misleading the House.

"Mr President, I was there in living flesh, I was there in the negotiations, in the consultations," said Cudjoe.

She also claimed that she had received an email from IDB officials urging her to speak to her Minister to get the ball rolling on the project.

Dookeran said Cudjoe was probably confused between the grant and loan agreements.