Tobago Organisation of the People Chairman, Mr. Lionel Coker, has called out THA Chief Secretary Orville London.
Mr. Coker told C News that mismanaged finances have left Tobago in financial disarray.
“Tobago is at a virtual standstill. When you go around Tobago and you look around at the development projects, you are seeing employees but no material. People are being added here, there and everywhere.”
Mr. Coker said the money that should be in use now to fund Government construction projects and to pay workers was squandered.
“It has a lot to do with the level of spending that took place in Tobago prior to the election because my information is that every account in every Division throughout the THA went into the red prior to the election.”
As far as the TOP Chairman is concerned, THA Chief Secretary Orville London has some questions to answer.
“Immediately after the election, the THA received in excess of $600 million from the Central Government and we need to ask the Chief Secretary of Tobago, where the money gone?”
C News could not reach Chief Secretary London for comment, but THA Secretary of Finance and Enterprise Development, Mr. Joel Jack, said allegations that the THA squandered money are unfounded.
He called for Mr. Coker to back up his claims: “It’s not the first time that Mr. Coker has been bandying about inaccurate statements in the media and he had to apologise in the past, having made false and erroneous claims.”
Secretary Jack clarified that the THA was trying to source money for daily-rated and monthly-paid workers but that was to pay arrears and this was due to the Central Government’s negotiations with the various unions.
“Workers are currently clamouring for payment of arrears and on the Assembly side, we are happy to effect payment but we cannot do so unless the Government provides additional funding to cover these outstanding arrears.”
Mr. Jack went on to add that the Assembly’s books have been prudently managed for over a decade. He said he spoke with Minister of Finance Larry Howai about sourcing funding to pay the arrears owed to workers.