Farley Demands $4.54B for THA

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

THE Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will be working towards Tobago constitutionally receiving at least seven per cent of the national budget.

THA’s Chief Secretary Farley Augustine made the announcement while he presented the THA budget for the period fiscal 2023/2024 on Monday. 

Currently, the legal requirement allocation for Tobago is 6.9% of the national budget. Tobago deserved nothing less, the Chief Secretary said.


Augustine announced that for fiscal 2024, the THA’s allocations were predicated on a National Budget of $65.78 billion.

The total estimate of expenditure for 2024 amounts to $4.54 billion.

Recurrent expenditure estimates are $3.39 billion, development expenditure – $1.15 billion, Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) expenditure – $97.07 million and the Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) – $44.77 million.

“Our forecast last year was spot on,” Augustine said.


Last year, the total estimated expenditure of the Assembly was predicated on a forecasted national budget of $57.4 billion, also with an allocation of 6.9%  to the THA with the total draft Estimates of Expenditure for fiscal 2023 amounting to $3.97 billion.

Augustine who is also the THA’s Secretary of Finance, Trade and the Economy said it was about time Tobago broke free from what he labelled as “constitutional colonisation” from Trinidad.

The seven per cent allocation was listed out in his measures  to ensure Constitutional changes which will enable Tobago to be closer to its self-governance.

Augustine said, “They (Central Government) have certainly placed administrative impediments in our way, they have even taken us to court on some matters. There is no need for any further evidence and or arguments to prove that these disruptive actions are manifestations of the colonial provisions of the colonial masters sitting at the Red House in Trinidad.”

The measures being requested include a constitutional definition of Tobago shaped by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the conferral of final constitutional authority and powers on the THA to all items listed in the Fifth Schedule.

 The Constitution must clearly state which matters the THA have final authority over and  must also be amended to state which matters the Central Government will have special authority and control  over.

Appropriate amendments to Section 53 of the Constitution to have the Tobago legislature gain the authority to make laws for which matters the THA has final constitutional responsibility control over as well as  Amendments to Section 57 will also be pursued.

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Augustine said, “Section 113 of the Constitution must be amended to provide the Constitutional guarantee of a minimum of seven per cent of the National Budget or an appropriate rubric or formula for calculating Tobago’s Budgetary allocation.

“It cannot be that a Minister can decide how much to give and to take back what was appropriated in the Budget.”

Those measures would be  the constitutional foundation from which Tobago will strengthen and build strong governing institutions to delever sustainability, prosperity and resilience to Tobagonians, he said.

A paper on Tobago’s position will be drafted listing out those critical amendments to be made will be taken to Central Government, Augustine said.

His budgetary presentation listed all the accomplishments of the THA since being formed with the present executive as well as measures to improve the quality of life in Tobago.


One thought on “Farley Demands $4.54B for THA

  1. How fortunate you can have the opportunity to demand $4.54B from the national Budget with a population of 65,000 on the island, while other small islands in the Caribbean raises that kind of financing through Taxes.

    The question is, can Tobago sustain itself with a population of 65,000 with that kind of resources that are needed to run it’s affairs?

    For an island that is heavily dependent on the Tourism Industry that is seasonal $4.54B is a very difficult hill to climb.

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