Budget may contain “sweeteners” for Tobago
Tobago Chamber of Commerce Speaker Martin George believes Monday’s budget presentation will contain “sweeteners” for the island, given the upcoming THA election.
“I think we will see from the central government an attempt to increase their fortunes in the upcoming THA elections and of course along with that would come additional sweeteners that would seek to attract the population in this regard. I think they will definitely try to add things to attract and woo voters, ”he said.
George said the budget must contain sustainable strategies to drive Tobago’s development.
“Whoever controls the means of production is the one who will ultimately be able to set the tone and dictate the pace. So we as a business community have said repeatedly that we need to see long term sustainable strategies rather than piecemeal handouts. “
He added: “I don’t want to come every year like Oliver Twist begging the central government, ‘Sir, can I have more, please?’
“I want you to empower me to be able to learn to fish rather than giving me a fish every time I come begging. I want to be able to catch my own fish, have my own fleet, have my own trawler. the problem with what happened with Tobago.
George said Tobago has been kept in a state of dependency for too long.
“His navel is linked to the central government of Trinidad. But Tobago has to be able to cut that umbilical cord, walk alone, and be a man in his own house. This has been the problem.
George reiterated his call for the government to consider repealing the foreign investment law.
“There are a lot of people who would like to make foreign direct investment in Tobago, but this act has crippled and stifled all foreign investment in Tobago since 2008.”
He also wants Tobago to become a VAT-free zone.
“This will not only benefit the Tobagonians. This will benefit Trinbagonians in general. If you live on an island without VAT, it will be very attractive for tourism and even Trinidadians who want to retire.
George said the chamber welcomed the $ 500 million Marriott-branded hotel and property development project at Rocky Point.
“From a business point of view, as a business organization, we are happy about this, because anything that will create more jobs for Tobagonians, so I would definitely say that is something we will support. , because we consider it a good step.
“Success breeds success, and if you have big international brands looking to establish themselves in Tobago, that in itself will bring in more international brands and help you with your marketing strategy.
“This is why we have always been in favor of the Sandals project. If anyone understands what the Sandals brand is, they will. People may not know anything about Tobago, but once they know there was a Sandals there, they will come to Tobago. “
The Sandals chain abandoned plans for a resort in Tobago in January 2019, citing negative publicity as the reason. There were concerns about it, mostly related to its possible environmental impact