Yet again, Tobago Forwards interim political leader Christlyn Moore has made misleading statements regarding the Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA) finances.
Chief Secretary Orville London on Tuesday (July 14, 2015) cleared up public statements Moore made regarding Tobago’s funds for the Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) and the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP). Moore claimed that the THA receives all its funding for those programmes and used it for other purposes, forcing the Assembly to leverage the Contingency Fund.
According to London, that is not the case. Armed with relevant information from the Budget Section of the Division of Finance and Enterprise Development, the Chief Secretary outlined the Assembly’s receipt and expenditure for URP and CEPEP at a media conference on Tuesday (July 14, 2015) at the Administrative Complex, Calder Hall.
The Assembly, he explained, requested $78,335,623 for URP and $54,145,570, for CEPEP from the Ministry of Finance. The THA’s parliamentary allocation was $23M and $8M respectively for those programmes. To date, it has received $17.25M (URP) and $6M (CEPEP).
London said as of December 31, 2014, URP expenditure reached $23,374,397.
“It meant, therefore, that if we are to depend only on the parliamentary appropriation of $23M, by the end of December 2014 that money would have been expended and every singly URP worker would have had to go home,” London said.
CEPEP expenditure for the same period, he stated, was $7,979,518.
London added” “If you were to depend on that, by the end of December 2014 we would have had less than $3,000 to pay all the CEPEP workers in Tobago.
“I want the people of Tobago to understand that when we put information out in the public domain we do not attempt to mislead the people,” the Chief Secretary said.
He added: “I also want it to be known that monies for URP and CEPEP, because of the regulation, that money cannot be taken from recurrent (expenditure funds), and that is why we had to use the contingency account.”
Earlier this year, Moore accused the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) of possibly conducting an illegal organ-harvesting ring, and of providing “incentives” to medical personnel.
The Authority consequently produced evidence showing that a US-based company with international certification was responsible for harvesting corneas for Tobago’s transplant patients. It also showed that the surgeon performed all nine of Tobago’s cornea transplants for 2015 free of charge.