VIDEO: 4th Caribbean International Tourism Conference – 11 Dec 2019

citc

Afra Raymond made a presentation at the 4th Caribbean International Tourism Conference at UWI’s Cave Hill Campus in Barbados on Trinidad & Tobago’s State-owned hotels to outline the results and provisional conclusions of his research examining the existing State-owned hotels as a way of understanding the real prospects for the large-scale Tobago Sandals proposed by the incumbent government in 2015.

Property Matters – State owned hotels

Manufactured consent’ is supported by “…effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion…“.
—Noam Chomsky


citcThis article is based on notes for my presentation today to the Fourth Caribbean International Tourism Conference (CITC 2019) at UWI’s Cave Hill campus. My presentation will be on Trinidad & Tobago’s State-owned hotels to outline the results and provisional conclusions of my research. I designed that research program to examine the existing State-owned hotels as a way of understanding the real prospects for the large-scale Tobago Sandals being proposed by the current government in 2015.

I am questioning the role of our responsible elites in light of Dr Terrence Farrell’s ‘Where do we go from here‘ speech to the Queen’s Park Cricket Club on 22 November 2019.  Dr Farrell also chaired a THA-appointed Committee to recommend a Medium-Term Policy and Planning Framework for Tobago. Those proposals were made on 12 November 2019 and included three new all-inclusive hotels for Tobago adding about 1,800 new rooms. Continue reading “Property Matters – State owned hotels”

Property Matters – THA BOLT Appeal, part two

“…A nod is as good as a wink to a Blind Horse…”
—A cynical Cockney view of political tricks.

“…You drink your rum, well let me drink mine…”
—A cynical local saying on how improper behaviour is tacitly accepted.

In this case, the THA, making its long-standing case for increased autonomy, seems comfortable to defend the wretched MILSHIRV agreement almost in the same breath as its perennial complaints of severe financial hardship. Well I tell you.

milshirv complex
Milshirv Complex in Tobago

The misbegotten MILSHIRV project is ground-zero in the workbook for how PPPs and BOLT arrangements can violate the Public Interest. Our responsible senior Public Officials agreed to change the terms of the lawsuit so that the legality of this BOLT contract was never tested by the Court, so the matter was converted by agreement to become an ‘interpretation‘ issue. Given the Court of Appeal ruling on 21st October 2019, the Public Interest has once again been grossly violated.

Typical views of failed projects consider delayed completions, cost over-runs or structural failure but despite the popularity, such views are entirely incorrect.  The proper position is that the only failed project is one from which we learn no lessons.  That is the real learning here.

This article takes a closer look at the Court of Appeal judgment in this matter and the real implications for the public interest. Continue reading “Property Matters – THA BOLT Appeal, part two”

Property Matters – THA BOLT Appeal

This article examines the recent Court of Appeal ruling that the THA did not have the power to enter certain PPPs as had been done in the MILSHIRV project.

tha-bolt1

In November 2011, the THA entered a Public Private Partnership with the Rahael Holdings group for MILSHIRV, a new office building at the corner of Claude Noel Highway and Shirvan Road in western Tobago.  I was heavily critical of that project as it was clear to me that the basic principles of needs assessment had been violated, as detailed later in this article. Continue reading “Property Matters – THA BOLT Appeal”

Public Secrets

Public Secrets

What is a Public Secret?  Is that an oxymoron?  Public bodies use public lands and/or public money to make agreements, supposedly in the pursuance of the public interest.  Yet those same bodies often claim that those arrangements are in fact private.  Well I tell you.

That proposition has been advanced, repeatedly and by both political sides, against all good sense and to the continuing detriment of the public.

Two high-profile requests for information were recently refused by public officials and that is the matter I will be examining here. Continue reading “Public Secrets”