Farley Augustine, one of the PDP's deputy political leaders, at a drive-in political meeting in Scarborough, on Sunday January 10th, 2021. (Image courtesy PDP)

The Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) says Tracy Davidson-Celestine, political leader of the Tobago Council of the People’s National Movement (PNM), must provide answers to Tobagonians about expenditure during her term in office as the Tobago House of Assembly’s Tourism Secretary.

Reading from the Auditor General’s 2016 report on January 10th at the party’s Garden Side car park meeting, one of the PDP’s deputy political leaders, Farley Augustine, said the PNM’s candidate for Lambeau / Signal Hill must come clean about a zip line project.

Farley, the PDP’s candidate for Parlatuvier / L’Anse Fourmi / Speyside, read:

“A service agreement that was dated the 12th of June 2015, showed that the Division of Tourism and Transportation contracted a British Virgin Islands corporation located at Tortola to design, develop and construct a ‘High Angle’ Canopy Tour Course in the Main Ridge Forest at an initial beginning cost of US$531,610. The Executive Council’s approval for this project was however missing.”

“The sum of $2,511,210.20 was paid to the Corporation up to the 30th September 2016 for materials and equipment. However, the existence of these assets was not verified. A visit to the store’s section of the Division revealed only some ropes on hand,” Farley read, to laughter from the crowd.

Farley said when the PNM was asked about the project, they indicated “85 per cent of the equipment was in Tobago”.

He said he investigated the company.

“I discovered they (Tourism Division) were taking the material and storing them in a company in Miami… the storage company went bankrupt… It means our equipment are racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in storage fees and will now be subject to auction. We might be looking for a zip line in our rainforest, but we will never get as much as a piece of a nylon string.”

Guardian Media reached out to Davidson-Celestine’s camp for comment on the Auditor General’s report. They promised to comment later today.