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Secretaries Answers to Questions


The Minority Leader asked the Hon. Chief Secretary and Secretary of Finance, Trade and the Economy the following question:

As it relates to the ‘Little Tobago’ jetty project, can the Chief Secretary confirm the following:-

a. The process utilized to select the contractor for the project?

b. The name and address of the contractor, and the contract sum at the time the contract was awarded?

c. If you or any Member of the Executive met with the contractor prior to the award of the contract?

Thank you, Madam Presiding Officer.

    The Speyside Tourism Stakeholders led by Sean Robinson of‘Tobago Dive’ and inclusive of representatives of all the reef boat operators; scuba dive shops; tour guides; restaurateurs and guest house owners presented the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development with a proposal in December for a quick and efficient repair to the ‘Little Tobago’ jetty that will not require the driving of piles or an extension of the jetty and thereby, no need for an EMA Certificate of Environmental Clearance.
    This was to allow them to be able to have the jetty for some usage in the Easter season of 2022, after missing many peak seasons.

   This proposal came with drawings from an established contractor who previously worked on the Speyside Mainland jetty and the building of the Roxborough jetty.

    The Division at that time already had an existing proposal of three point one million dollars ($3.Im). It was reviewed and that proposal was compared with the one received from the community stakeholders, and the decision was made by the Division to go with the one presented by the community stakeholders.

     The name of the contractor is ‘Macrill & Associates Limited.’ The address of the contractor - No. 7 Hillcrest Drive, Petit Valley, Trinidad;contracted sum - four hundred and forty-nine thousand, two hundred dollars ($449,200.00), VAT exclusive. A difference or saving of approximately two point six five million dollars ($2.65m).

      A singular meeting was held between the Secretary in the Division ofnInfrastructure with the principals at ‘Macrils & Associates’ and that meeting was held on the February 01,2022.

   Can the Chief Secretary confirm whether he himself has a personal relationship with the contractor?

  Chief Secretary.

     Madam Presiding Officer, I can confirm that I do not have a personal relationship with the contractor. I heard of that contractor sometime in 2019/early 2020, when the stakeholder team brought the proposal to my attention as the then Area Representative. That was the first time I heard of this contractor, but I do not have a relationship with the contractor at all.

     Madam Presiding Officer, seeing that the Chief Secretary is now saying that this stakeholder meeting was in 2020, and the Division of Infrastructure would have engaged a process in 2021, which was utilizing another contractor then, can the Chief Secretary bring some clarity,as to how he would have had this engagement with the said contractor?

Thank you, Madam Presiding Officer. The community of Speyside was incensed that after nearly twenty (20) years, the promise of repairing the jetty at ‘Little Tobago’ was not done. The stakeholders, the community - and let me repeat the persons involved:

  • The Reef Boat Operators;

  • Scuba Dive Shops;

  • Tour Guides;

  • Restaurateurs; and

  • Guest house owners.

   They met sometime late in that year 2020 and they decided that they would start to pool their monies together to repair the jetty themselves. 

2:02 P.M.

In fact, the intention of the community was to go behind the back of the Division of Infrastructure and repair the jetty without the Division having any knowledge or expressed permission of same.

    After the election in 2021, the stakeholders who at that time were still unable to raise all the monies required, came to the Division with that said proposal and at which time I asked the Secretary of the Division to treat with the matter and have the Division consider both proposals. In fact, it was only upon getting into office that we learnt that there was in fact, a plan to treat with the ‘Little Tobago’ jetty, a three point one million dollar ($3.Im) plan. The Division looked at both plans,juxtaposed them and decided to change the scope of works and went with the cheaper plan.

It is important to note that the plan the Chief Secretary speaks to, is a temporary adjustment to the situation, whereas the three point one million dollars ($3.Im) that the...

The three point one million dollars ($3.Im) that he refers to, was a complete arrangement and therefore, I want to find out...

Please ask the question, Minority Leader.

I would want the Chief Secretary to...

Please. Minority Leader, is there a question that you are getting to?

What is the status of this project seeing that the decision of the Division was that we would have had this project ready in time for Easter?We are now at the point of September. We would have missed the Easter; we missed the summer and now I am asking, what is the status of this project?

Understood. Chief Secretary.

Sure. I am happy to say that the stakeholders did not miss the Easter of 2022, because at that juncture, after a very long time, the reef boats could have actually docked safely at the jetty.

Currently, the jetty now has railings that it did not have before; one can dock at the jetty and the Division now has some ‘on-land’ works to complete because beyond the jetty, the Division used its staff to repair the house there; to do the trail;to do railings on the trails and so while the jetty aspect is now more or less completed, on the island itself it is about ninety-five percent (95%) completed on the island itself, separate and apart from the jetty. And I will love to invite the Minority Leader to join me on a tour. I will be happy to take him on a tour so that he can see the facility if he so obliges.

Minority Leader, any further question can you please be short or else you would have to put it in writing.

Can the Chief Secretary confirm whether there is any variation to the agreed contracted sum?

 I am not in a position to confirm that. He may wish to direct that question to the Secretary of Infrastructure. I would not be able to say that from where I sit.

I think that that is fair enough, Minority Leader. So we move on. Next question.

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


22 September 2022
Supplemental question to the main question :
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