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Business groups: Deal with Tobago crime before it crushes tourism, economy

TOURISM is the lifeblood of Tobago’s economy. The island’s unique, indigenous heritage, picturesque beaches and renowned historic landmarks have made it an ideal destination for visitors both at home and abroad. But that reputation is being threatened by an upsurge in murders and other violent crimes, the likes of which Tobago have never experienced before, stakeholders contend. On July 8, three men were gunned down in Black Rock while playing a card game outside of a shop along the main road. A fourth died at the Scarborough General Hospital the following day. The killings, in just seven months, pushed Tobago’s murder toll for 2024...

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Tobago Chamber head: Stop blaming Trinidad

TOBAGO Chamber of Commerce chairman Martin George yesterday called on Tobagonians to stop saying that Trinidad gangs were “infiltrating” Tobago and accept that “we are raising and breeding our own home-grown bandits”. He also urged the Government to pass legislation to proclaim the Tobago Police Bill or to make the necessary amendments to the Tobago House of Assembly Act so that a supplemental police force could be set up on the island. George was sought by the Express yesterday for his response following yesterday morning’s triple homicide which occurred in Black Rock, Tobago. The murders pushed Tobago’s murder toll to 15 for the...

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Chamber on Black Rock triple murder: Tobago is breeding criminals

TOBAGO is breeding criminals. Tobago Business Chamber president Martin George made the statement on Monday following a triple murder in Black Rock. George said Tobagonians must take their head out the sand and realise the gravity of the situation. George said, “Tobago, we have to stop making the excuses that we are accustomed to making. We have to stop saying that it is gangs from Trinidad infiltrating Tobago, we have to stop burying our heads in the sand whereby we refuse to acknowledge that we are raising and breeding our own home-grown bandits in Tobago." The island was left in a state of...

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Chamber head: Tobago crime locally bred

The chairman of the Tobago Business Chamber has urged Tobagonians to confront the harsh reality that recent violent crimes are locally bred, dismissing the notion of blaming Trinidad-based gangs for the island’s escalating murder rate. “Once again, we are seeing the scourge of crime and criminality touching our beautiful island of Tobago,” Martin George told Guardian Media yesterday after the quadruple murder in Black Rock. He warned Tobagonians, “We have to stop making excuses that it’s gangs from Trinidad. We have to stop burying our heads in the sand and acknowledge that we are raising and breeding our own homegrown bandits in...

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Chamber: THA budget either ambitious or farcical

CHAIRMAN of the Tobago Business Chamber Martin George has described the THA’s $3.95 billion request as “aspirational and ambitious at best and fanciful and farcical at worst.” In a video statement on June 26, George said Tobago’s population represents about 5.07 per cent of the national population, and if one goes back to Hansard to look at the recommendations of the Dispute Resolution Commission (DRC) as far back 2000, it recommended a range of 4.03-6.9 per cent as the range in which Tobago’s budgetary allocation should fall. He said: “If one were to do the straight-line demographic analysis and applying the Chief...

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Business Chamber’s budget wish: Bring on Tobago regional police service

The Tobago Business Chamber is hoping to hear an announcement of a localised police force for Tobago in the THA’s budget presentation on June 24. Chief Secretary and Secretary of Finance, Trade and the Economy Farley Augustine is expected to present the 2024/2025 fiscal package in the Assembly Legislature, Scarborough, from 10am. At a function on June 18, Augustine said the presentation – the third of his administration – will focus heavily on human capital development. He added this year’s budget request would be kept within the limits of the Dispute Resolution Commission’s recommendations (between 4.03 and 6.9 per cent) which were accepted...

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Chamber wants focus on tourism, agriculture

A reduction in crime, economic growth, access to financing and better inter-island transport are some of the areas the Tobago arm of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Tobago Business Chamber want addressed in today’s Tobago House of Assembly (THA) budget presentation which will be presented by Chief Secretary and Finance Secretary Farley Augustine. “We want to put our eyes on tourism and agriculture, the chamber emphasises the need to invest in tourism, agriculture as these sectors are critical for Tobago’s economic diversification. We advocate for policies that enhance tourism infrastructure and promote sustainable agriculture practices...

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Tobago Business Chamber: PM’s adversarial stance on EMA laws ill-advised

THE TOBAGO Business Chamber says the somewhat adversarial stance the Prime Minister has taken in referring to the environmental management laws may not be the best position to adopt if the government intends to develop the country along a particular path. At the post-Cabinet media briefing on June 13, Dr Rowley said the government would have to revisit the EMA Act, as people in the country use it to obstruct development rather than help it. He believes the misuse of the act has robbed Trinidad and Tobago of projects such as a Sandals resort and an aluminium smelter plant. But Rowley said the...

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George: Repeal ‘repressive’ Foreign Investment Act

The chairman of the Tobago Business Chamber, Martin George, has reiterated his call for the immediate and unconditional repeal of the Foreign Investment Act. In a media release on Friday, George said the chamber had been championing this repeal for many years. This “repressive and obstructive legislation,” he said, represents a palpable absurdity, especially in the face of the severe scarcity of foreign exchange in TT. “Instead of facilitating direct foreign investment like so many other islands in the Caribbean are doing, this archaic and anachronistic Foreign Investment Act has us placing and maintaining hurdles and obstacles in the way of investors. "The...

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Budget review disappoints business groups

The Confederation of Regional Business Chambers (CRBC) has expressed disappointment that several key issues that have affected business and the economy appeared to be ignored during the mid-year budget review. Coordinator of the CRBC Jai Leladharsingh said, "The IMF report indicates that growth is taking place, but to date, Trinidad and Tobago has not reached the benchmark of the 2019 GDP figures as yet." The Confederation however did side with the Minister's stance on the exchange rate, as it said, "the CRBC agrees that any downward adjustment of the exchange rate would only serve to create severe economic stress and bring severe...

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