The Tobago House of Assembly has no intention of reimbursing an executive council member for chartering a private aircraft from Martinique on Sunday.
So said THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine.
A Guardian newspaper report revealed that Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development Trevor James had chartered a private plane to return from Martinique as Tropical Storm Tammy approached that island.
The cost was reported to have been between US$5,000 and US$9,000.
James was quoted as saying he paid for the flight in a private arrangement. He was accompanied by another THA official and Association of Caribbean States employees.
The group had attended a conference, Connectivity Conference of the Greater Caribbean, which ran from October 18-20.
Augustine was asked about the issue on Tuesday after delivering the feature address at a handing-over ceremony at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex and said he is prepared to use his powers to give a strong rejection if James makes any request for reimbursement.
He said the THA did not spend any money on the trip, as it was a last-minute invitation.
“There was no spend from the division up to this day for the trip, because it came as a last-minute invitation, and so they had to foot their own (bill) there in hopes of an executive council agreeing to refund that.”
Augustine also said the THA did not engage any private chartered plane.
“The THA has not paid any private charter. The THA will not be paying any private charter. The THA will not be engaging any such private charter. That is very clear.”
James said he made the private arrangement to return home because he had family obligations to attend to on Monday and Tuesday. He said he was also footing the bill but refused to indicate whether the other people on the flight contributed to the cost.