The Government has signed a secret deal with Sandals International.
Cudjoe said she that “at this stage” she “cannot provide the terms of the agreement signed between the Government and Sandals Resorts International cannot be disclosed due to strict confidentiality provisions in the agreement.”
She promised to reveal “full details” at the “earliest possible time and date.”
Cudjoe issued a written statement in reply to a parliamentary question from Opposition Member of Parliament Dr. Roodal Moonilal.
In response to another query, she said No Man’s Land in Tobago has been placed in the hands of a special purposes company chaired by Neil Wilson.
Other directors are Verne Alleyne, Selvon Hazel, Selby Leslie, Waltnel Sosa and Enid Zephyrine.
One Neil Wilson has served as Tobago’s Secretary for Tourism; last September, he was honoured with the Chaconia Medal (Silver) for his “contribution to public service.”
There have been fears that aspects of the patrimony of Tobago will be doled out to the aggressive Sandals group as an incentive for investments.
The Government has touted the project in successive budget addresses and several public statements as a flagship of foreign investments.
But the brand-new Cudjoe statement keeps taxpayers in the dark.
On Friday, the Government was berated in Parliament for the absence of business investments, both by local and international interests, after 28 months in national office and after a reported 18 foreign trips by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley.
Rowley had repeatedly parroted about attracting investments; his May 2016 Ghanaian safari was meant to lure business in the petrochemical sector.
He recently announced a so-called investment committee – that included the favoured Richard Young, father of fast-talking Government Minister Stuart Young – even though that there is a public agency for that purpose.
The mandate of InvesTT is to serve as “an investment promotion agency” for Trinidad and Tobago.
Now there are concerns about whether this organisation is being mothballed, as with the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) and other public bodies.
The Opposition has said that while in Government direct foreign investments were increased form around US $500 million in 2010 to an average of US $1.5 billion each year after 2012.
The investments debate crops up at a time when leaders of the world’s largest economies have just ended their conference at Davos, Switzerland.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the meeting that “we are removing red tape and laying out the red carpet.”
That country’s economy is growing at six per cent a year and is set to be worth US $5 trillion by 2025.
China’s Xi Jinping skipped this year’s World Economic Forum but he is presiding over the world’s fastest-growing economy, at 6.9 per cent.
In Trinidad and Tobago, the usually boastful Rowley regime has not been able to tout a single investment.
And a reported pact with a hospitality group is being kept away from taxpayers.