Economy, productivity are priorities, Chief Secretary tells Chamber

Economic development is one key area where Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles is placing his focus.

And aside from the traditional tourism mainstays, the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will also be focusing on a few other industries.

“In the short term, our position is we’re seeking to develop the economy of Tobago in a way that is fueled by tourism, agriculture, line manufacturing, and specialised services,” Charles said during an informal meet and greet dinner at the office of the Tobago Division of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Scarborough on Monday night (February 13, 2017).

He said that strategy “informs structure,” which is why designations have been changed for several THA Divisions.

“Our core emphasis is on tourism, agriculture, line manufacturing and certain other specialised services, undergirded by a robust education system, a solid health sector, a reformed public service, and an industrious and hospitable people,” Charles said. “So that being the grand or overarching strategy, then what’s left to be determined is what is the structure that would allow for an increase in the probability of the outcome that you want.”

Charles told the Chamber his administration will set up a Tobago Tourism Authority as the “mechanism to treat with the issue of product development, marketing, and execution of some of the policy decisions relating to that sector.”

The THA will also decentralise social services, so that communities can be better served. Charles said this change will make social workers more familiar with the issues faced by residents in the community, and become “more targeted” to persons who need help.

Charles indicated he has also started meeting with key stakeholders on crime and security.

He said his administration will take a multifaceted approach to crime, including an emphasis on education and community development.

“All those will be part of an integrated plan,” he added.

The Chief Secretary also wants the THA to be more productive. Former Chamber president Diane Hadad told the Chief Secretary the Tobago Division will support him on this issue.

“You’ll have our voices all the way behind you,” Hadad said. “We’ll march with you because we want 8 o’clock to be 8 o’clock.”

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