Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has thrown out a challenge to Tobagonians to do things differently in the areas of agriculture, tourism, and housing.
He was speaking at his final scheduled campaign stop for the Tobago House of Assembly’s(THA) elections at Mt Pleasant on Thursday night.
Rowley, the political leader of the People’s National Movement, told supporters the island can begin to diversify the economy by planting food.
“Tobago’s role as a producer of food must grow and must improve,” he said.
He added:” We talk about diversification in the country, the question is what role can you play in diversifying the economy of Tobago? Are you going to remain in a position where you waiting for the boat to come to bring lettuce and cassava and cucumber and pumpkin from Trinidad or are you going to plant it?
Noting he had toured some Tobago farms, the political leader said he was pleased by what he had seen, especially as young people are involved.
“We in Tobago are going back to our roots, (and be) producers of food of high quality to feed not just Tobago but to feed Trinidad.”
On the issue of tourism, he said Tobago has a better potential to develop its tourism product.
He said the product must be improved to meet tourists’ growing need for another type of accommodation.
“ There is a shift, very many people who are coming to Tobago today are not really first and foremost going to hotels. A different kind of tourism has developed, it is the villa tourism.”
He said hotel and villa accommodation could go hand in hand to develop the tourism industry.
Touching on housing, he said not all national policies are best for Tobago.
Rowley criticized the Progressive Democratic Patriots’ (PDP) proposal to share State lands among Tobagonians for housing.
He questioned whether it is good policy and noted that the State does not own much land in Tobago.
He said Tobagonians should not be dependent on the State and wait “20 and 40 years … in a line of 40,000 people to get an HDC (Housing Development Corporation) house.”
In its 2021 manifesto, PNM Tobago indicated it would build 400 starter homes, 250 rental units, and distribute 2,000 residential lots.