The Tobago Council of the Peoples National Movement says that State funds are not being used to finance the party’s campaign in the lead up to the January 2021, Tobago House of Assembly elections. Rather, the party is describing any upgrade work, projects and programmes launched or commissioned around this time as a “fortunate coincidence.”
The council’s hierarchy hosted a press conference at its Scarborough Office yesterday where the Political Leader of the Tobago Council Tracy Davidson Celestine said over the last twenty years the people of Tobago have enjoyed a relatively stable economy under the management of the PNM.
She also spoke of several projects such as the Charlotteville and the Signal Hill Micro Enterprise Centres, which were recently launched. The Charlotteville Micro Enterprise Centre began in 2013 was finally launched on December 20, and although originally budgeted at $12 million the final cost at completion was $25million.
The political leader, however, made no mention of the Plymouth Micro Mall where construction also began in 2013. That project remains incomplete although Secretary for Community Development Enterprise Development and Labour Marslyn Melville – Jack announced in November, that the project would be complete in the second week of December.
Davidson- Celestine, however, said the Roxborough Health facility, “would be launched on January 5, on the heels of the commissioning of the Roxborough Fire Station and the Roxborough Police Station.” The Roxborough Police station was commissioned in December 2019 and the Roxborough Fire Station was commissioned in August 2020.
When Davidson-Celestine was asked to respond to accusations of using state funds to campaign, she said the party is focused on advancing Tobago’s development.
“I really don’t know that the Peoples National Movement is using state funds to advance our campaigns, our work is in terms of ensuring the development continues as we would have pointed out its just a case of most of our facilities that would have been constructed over the years are being commissioned at this point in time.”
Tobago PNM Council, Chairman Stanford Callendar also weighed in on the accusation, he said following the general elections in August, the party has had to make do, with the limited funds they have available.
“As chairman of the party one of our most challenging tasks coming out the general elections and as we prepare for the Tobago House of Assembly Elections is the party raiding its own funds to fund the campaign, one of the most tedious tasks is budgeting, our political leader would say you have to cut and contrive”
Callender went on to say that he hopes the persons making the accusation, “does not want the development of Tobago to cease during an election as the administration of the island has to continue.”
“Fortunately for us, the PNM is in charge of the administration of Tobago.”