Recently appointed Minister of Tobago Development Dr Delmon Baker had his first meeting with THA Chief Secretary Orville London yesterday (Tuesday 10th July 2012) since assuming his new portfolio.
However, Dr Baker preferred not to speak to the media about the 90-minute meeting held at his request at the Office of the Chief Secretary at the Calder Hall Administrative Complex, Scarborough.
London said the Minister had asked for an “informal unofficial meeting” which ended up being a very intense but cordial 90-minute session. “There were certain areas we discussed that were hopeful with respect to the relationship between the Ministry and the Tobago House of Assembly and he did indicate that he would formalise certain aspects of the discussion with correspondence to the Assembly,” London added.
He stated that Dr Baker was willing to engage in discussion with the Assembly both at the policy and the operational levels with respective teams to try to resolve issues that have bogged them for some time. “We will not have agreement on all issues but I am heartened that the Minister is prepared to have meaningful discussion with the Assembly on a regular basis,” he said.
London said he had made it clear that “we are operating on the premise that the Assembly has control over certain areas and the Ministry has control over areas where it represents the Central Government”.
London said he was looking forward to a more meaningful relationship between the Assembly and the Ministry of Tobago Development from here on.
Among the several issues of concern to the Assembly that were discussed were a second Carnival in Tobago, the challenge of the Tobago Local Public Assistance Board and its non appointment which was causing hardships to scores of Tobagonians, construction of police stations at Roxborough and Old Grange which was two years overdue, the outstanding $100 million parliamentary approval due to the THA for completing the commissioning of services at the new Scarborough General Hospital and the process for the review the THA Act and Constitution as it related to Tobago.
The Tobago Chief Secretary said Dr Baker was “not particularly enthused” about a second Carnival in Tobago, adding that he (London) hoped that the issue was now off the drawing board.