THA plans to take legal action on gov’t for allocations owed

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THA plans to take legal action on gov’t for allocations owed

$166.4 million is reportedly owed to the Tobago House of Assembly by the central government, in approved parliamentary allocations over the past few years.
Now, Chief Secretary Farley Augustine is ready to cash in, and is planning to take legal action to get the money.

Speaking before the Assembly on Thursday, Augustine said the THA is also pursuing legal action to ensure governments give the assembly an annual budget allocation commensurate with its development agenda.

He was moving a motion in the Assembly Legislature to reprioritise the THA’s 2023-2024 budget allocation.

Augustine said: “Madam Presiding Officer (Abby Taylor), notwithstanding the public utterances from the Minister of Finance (Colm Imbert) and his Tobagonian colleagues in the Parliament, the calculations reveal that the THA is owed a total of $166.4 million in approved parliamentary allocation that has not been transferred to the THA.”

In the Tobago budget in June, the THA requested $4.54 billion from central government to manage its affairs over the next year, but only received $2.585 billion in the national budget on September.

On November 24, 2022, at a plenary sitting, Augustine accused central government of not disbursing the THA’s full fiscal allocation from the budget over the past five years.

On Thursday, Augustine said his administration has spoken to Imbert several times about the issue, to no avail.

“My administration has been having discussions with the Minister of Finance on this matter over the last two years without any material success. Madam Presiding Officer, the time for futile talking has expired.

“We are now at an advanced stage in our preparation for legal action and preparations of complaints to invoke the jurisdiction of the Dispute Resolution Commission (DRC) provided for under section 56 of the THA Act 40 of 1996.”