Farley Speaks of Plot against Him,THA

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‘This is personal now and it is about you preserving the sanctity of the THA and it makes me wonder, what used to happen before…’ – Farley Augustine
By Sue-Ann Wayow
THE owner of a construction company in Tobago has been attempting to extort money owed to him by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) using threatening means claims THA’s Chief Secretary Farley Augustine.

The sum owed is more than $60 million, a debt which Augustine’s administration inherited, Augustine disclosed at a public briefing on Friday morning.


However, he said, neither he nor the THA executive would be bullied into making payments to that one contractor when they did not have sufficient funds to even meet basic financial needs of the THA, even if the People’s National Movement (PNM) government demanded that it be paid.

Displaying WhatsApp messages received from the owner, other invoices, pictures of construction or lack of, the Chief Secretary told the Tobago population that together with a leaked audio clip last month, it was all part of a plot to oust his administration out of office, headed by the PNM.

Augustine showed on-screen messages made to him which were threats to reveal sex secrets which he dismissed as lies, demanding money and use of obscene language.


Changes to his personal security measures based on life-threatening threats also had to be made. He said the Special Branch was aware of those changes.

He also claimed that threats were made to have persons kidnapped so that monies will be paid out and also claimed that a former colleague wanted him dead.

“If it resurfaces again at this juncture, some months later it might well mean something to look at there in terms of security,” the chief security said.

Augustine said to date, two secretaries have received threatening messages, an engineer was afraid to sleep at night at home and another engineer had her vehicle vandalised.

He said, “I am convinced now that all of this is a part of a larger plot to destabilise the government because the government chose to take a campaign against corruption.”

Augustine told the population of Tobago, “This is personal now and it is about you preserving the sanctity of the THA and it makes me wonder, what used to happen before…”

It would be biased to pay that one contractor whose name was called and that has been the subject of political platforms and not pay other smaller contractors on the island, he said.


The THA received $100 million from Central Government, $50 million allocated to the Division of Insfracture, Quarries and the Environment (DIQE) with more than $25 million being used to pay the contractor for 17 projects.

With a debt incurred of $300 million, $100 million was clearly not sufficient to write off all debts, Augustine said.

“Of the $100 million that was sent, somehow it is believed that this one contractor must receive $60 million of it while at the same time the THA is battling a court case for $80 million for a road built while I was still in school and we have contractors owed from the early 2000s with invoices unserviced, unpaid for. We have other contractors involved in the $300 plus million dollar project in the lead-up to the election who also have to be paid.”

He said he was holding on to his promise that once the audit was completed and there was direction from the auditors on how payments should be made, payments will be made.

Augustine said, “We will pay only what we could afford to pay.”

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Last September, Augustine revealed some information arising out of the preliminary findings of an audit compiled by the independent auditor Caribbean Institute of Forensic Auditing (CIFA) into developmental programmes undertaken by the previous People’s National Movement (PNM) THA executive.

He said then, some contractors were paid for work not done, statements which he repeated in Friday’s briefing.

Augustine said based on the audit report into three contractors, payments have been made.

AZP News called the office of the contractor that Augustine named but go no response. No one answered the phone.

Links to more stories from the press conference below:


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