|GHRC, Caroni Green going too |
CLINT CHAN TACK Friday, March 17 2017
AS THE plans to dissolve the Tourism Development Company (TDC) proceed, Government yesterday announced its intention to wind up two more state companies - Government Human Resource Services Company Limited (GHRS) and Caroni Green Limited (CGL). This announcement was made by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s. At the same briefing, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young announced that formal negotiations to build a Sandals resort in Tobago, will start on April 11.
GHRS was created in 2006 to facilitate the enhancement of the human resource capacity in the Public Service. The company falls under the ambit of the Public Administration and Communications Ministry. GCL was formed in December 2013 and commenced commercial operations in September 2014. This company focuses on the production and processing of hot peppers.
The Prime Minister said an examination of the State Enterprises sector showed, “some entities have outlived their usefulness...some entities have lost their way...some entities are grossly underperforming for one reason or another.” Rowley said the Cabinet will look at the recommendations and take the appropriate decisions.
He said Cabinet decided yesterday to close GHRS. On CGL, Rowley asked, “Now taxpayer...Do you really want to spend $6 million in taxpayers’ money to sell less than $1 million in peppers?” Saying an Opposition MP hailed CGL as a success, Rowley said an examination of the history and numbers shows, “it does not make any sense for the Government to be funding CGL to grow peppers.” He added, “We should provide support to farmers to grow peppers.” On TDC, Rowley rejected the claim from the Communications Workers Union (CWU) that the decision to dissolve the company “came out of the blue.” He explained, “We set up a lot of advisory committees...and authorised and empowered them to consult with the public.” Observing at one time that the PNM was being accused of “being a government by committee and too much consultation,” the Prime Minister said, “We took our time. All of 2016...
We very slowly...very methodically...
carefully brought our economy downwards...and created a platform for some decision-making.” He reiterated that Government has spoken publicly about its tourism thrust and dissatisfaction with previous tourism marketing efforts.
In closing the TDC, Rowley said there will be a three-pronged arrangement with the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), “will have a greater interest and direct responsibility for marketing and promoting Tobago....because Tobagonians want that.” The Prime Minister said the tourism product which TT puts out to the world, must be “regulated to maintain its standards.” He also dismissed the CWU’s call for Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe to resign. Reminding reporters this was a Cabinet decision, the Prime Minister declared, “I led the Cabinet that took the decision.”