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Secretaries Answers to Questions


As it relates to the recently held Tobago House of Assembly sponsored UTOPIA JAZZ experience, can the Secretary indicate the following:

  • A. Whether the Tobago House of Assembly through the Tobago
    Tourism Agency Limited made arrangements for a chartered flight for performing artistes?

  • B. What cost was incurred by the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited, to charter the flight?”

Thank you, Madam Presiding Officer.

        Owing to the absence of sufficient flights between the islands, the principals who promoted the Tobago UTOPIA JAZZ experience found themselves in a situation where they could not get the performing acts into the island to satisfy requirements for that event. They reached out to the Tobago House of Assembly with their challenge and the Tobago House of Assembly responded positively by way of sponsorship. That sponsorship was in the form of the charter for a flight for those performing acts to get into the island. The contract negotiations were done by the Senior State Counsel, the Protocol Department of the Office of the Chief Secretary and cosigned by the Chief Administrator and the Chief Secretary on June 17th  2022.

      The Tourism Agency Limited was asked to service the charter bill, as it is the only agency with a vote dedicated for paying charters and for air service agreements. The cost of that charter was thirty thousand US dollars ($30,000US) or two hundred and three thousand, nine hundred and seventy- nine TT dollars ($203,979.00TT).

Thank you.

Wow, wow, Madam Presiding Officer. In a place where people cannot get basic food items [Interruption] [Crosstalk]

Members! Members!

Minority Leader, please ask your question.

This hurts me because two hundred and ten thousand TT dollars (TT$210,000.00) to charter, how many artistes?

That is not a question.

How many artistes - two hundred and ten thousand dollars ($210,000.00).

Minority Leader, that is not a question. Please get to the question now. Thank you.

How many artistes did this two hundred and ten thousand ($210,000.00) hard earned taxpayers’ dollars covered? How many persons were brought over on this flight?

        Thank you, Madam Presiding Officer. I do not have that information at hand. However, if he wishes to reach out to the principal’s opulent events - I think he knows them very well, they are his friends, they can indicate to him who was brought over on that chartered flight.

         In any case, the THA has a responsibility to all promoters in the space to ensure that not only the Tobago House of Assembly has events, but we encourage promoters to have events on the island’s ‘Event and Festivals calendar’ to contribute to our tourism product. The THA was a minor sponsor of this event. That was a minor cost compared to what we would  normally spend for our Jazz Festivals, somewhere in the region of fifteen ($15m) and eighteen million dollars ($18m). This event was hosted as a result of our absence of having Jazz this year. And I see that as an investment that the THA has made to ensure that promoters on the island can have quality events to ensure that we could bring visitors to the island.

Thank you.

Councillor Burris, I believed he ask,‘who.’ Did you answer that part? I am not hearing too well up here.

Yes, I did answer. I said that I do not have that information at hand, but it can be provided subsequently.

Okay, thank you.

Minority Leader, any follow up questions?

So we cannot pay ex-gratia, but we have enough money

I am just asking. So, we have enough money to charter a flight?

That is not a question, Minority Leader.


Questions for written answers. In accordance with Standing Order 21 (3), Honourable Members the

written responses from:

⦁Assemblyman Trevor James;

⦁Assemblyman Farley Chavez Augustine; and

⦁Assemblyman Nathisha Charles-Pantin

would be circulated at the next Sitting.

Leader of Assembly Business.

9th Plenary Sitting Tobago House of Assembly 2021 - 2025 Session


22 September 2022
Supplemental question to the main question :
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