ROPOUCHE East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal has described Government’s response to questions about Sandals coming to Tobago as a “secret deal.” He made the comment yesterday while contributing to debate on an Opposition motion questioning the Government about diversifying the economy. He said Government saw Sandals and liked Sandals and there was no tendering or invitations to other resort/spa/casino chains to put in a bid.
Moonilal pointed out there was no photograph of the Government signing the Memorandum of Understanding with Sandals so he requested a response in writing in Parliament. Moonilal said he was informed in writing by the Government that part of the agreement was signed in Port of Spain and part outside the country in an “undisclosed location.”
He had also asked what was the terms and conditions of this secret deal but he was told that there was a confidentiality clause. “So we have a secret deal over a secret MOU signed in two or more countries at the same time. What are we doing? Are we talking about transparency and openess?”
He said he also questioned the arrangements for environmental issues and labour but he was told by Government that they have not reached that stage yet. Moonilal said that Government would have to spend US $500 million and then Sandals will come and brand though he did not know where Government would find the money. He added that the sea bridge had collapsed and you cannot make it by boat or plane and you cannot swim half the way. Returning to the motion Moonilal said the Government on the one hand say the previous administration had a lot of money and on the other hand that they spent a lot of money. “We make no apology for spending resources on the people for the people.”
He said the deal in Chaguaramas which included a car park leased at a dollar a year for 30 years, and that Government was criticising, was to hire their own constituents. “No wonder your own constituents are burning tyres on the road and dumping garbage.”
Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young yesterday said the sum of $65,000 was paid for a survey of land in Tobago for the construction of a Sandals Beach Resort there. Young made this statement in response to a question in the House of Representatives. Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said repair work will be done on the Tulsa Trace flood gates, once funding becomes available.