Friday, January 19, 2018

Victory for the THA in Milshirv Complex case

..Court rules it ‘operated within the law’

THE Division of Finance and Enterprise Development of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) said yesterday it welcomed the confirmation of its position that the Tobago House of Assembly was legally entitled to enter the Build-Own-Lease-Transfer (BOLT) arrangement under which it undertook to construct the Milshirv Complex in Tobago.

Secretary Joel Jack said in a statement: “This has always been the position of the THA which, prior to the establishment of the Milshirv project, sought the advice of senior counsel to ensure that the Assembly, as is its custom, was operating according to law.

“It is unfortunate that this issue, which should never have arisen, was politicised ahead of a THA election. Aspersions were cast on members of the Assembly whose actions—to enter into the BOLT type arrangement to accelerate Tobago’s development, in the face of the perennial shortfalls in budgetary allocations from the Central Government—were found to be totally lawful by the Court. It is noteworthy that the Court also encouraged closer collaboration with the Ministry of Finance.”

He added, “The Division of Finance and Enterprise Development welcomes this development which it has long advocated, even as it notes that considerable sums destined for Tobago and on matters which impinge on the Fifth Schedule and, therefore, for which the THA has responsibility, are being diverted to the Ministry of Tobago Development and other arms of the Central Government.”

The Division of Finance and Enterprise Development also noted the Court’s suggestion regarding the application of the Central Tenders Board Act to future BOLT transactions—a modality that can be covered through existing arrangements or within the context of revised Assembly Financial Rules, the THA added.