Minister Beckles and Chief Secretary Augustine propose collaboration towards Data Driven Planning for Tobago

The Honourable Pennelope Beckles, Minister of Planning and Development, made a courtesy visit to the Honourable Farley Augustine, Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), on Tuesday 5th April, 2022. The main purpose of the visit, was to renew the Ministry of Planning and Development's commitment to strengthening the relationship with the THA. Key areas discussed included; improved partnership with the Central Statistical Office (CSO), to achieve data driven planning for Tobago, and the status of DevelopTT in Tobago.

The Honourable Farley Augustine emphasized the need to collaborate with the Ministry of Planning and Development, to reinforce THA’s capacity to effectively plan and develop Tobago. As such, the Chief Secretary expressed his appreciation for Minister Beckles’s decision to make this meeting a priority early in her appointment as Minister of Planning and Development.

Both parties underscored the need to cultivate a more comprehensive approach to data driven planning for Tobago. It was determined that to accomplish this goal, increased cooperation with the (CSO) is required to expand data collection, establish revised protocols for data security, identify new areas to measure domestic production, add new statistical indicators to aid in policy decisions and create systems for ease of data sharing between agencies. It is envisioned that such a partnership will lead to accurate, detailed, current and accessible data sources specific to Tobago, which can inform policy making as it relates to matters in areas such as; foreign investment, trade, tourism, inflation, labour force and health.

Also discussed was the status of DevelopTT, the Automation of Construction Permitting System project, which is scheduled to launch in Tobago by June 2022, and the continuation of the sub-project, Digitization of Key Records of the Town and Country Planning Division (TCPD, in Tobago. The TCPD team lead by Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning and Development, Mr. Ric Javed Ali, reiterated that these initiatives are in-keeping with the Government’s thrust toward using ICT to improve service delivery, as per Theme III: Improving Productivity through Quality Infrastructure and Transportation of the Vision 2030.

Therefore, the presentation of over two decades of relevant and critical planning data in a digital format, will assist the THA in its endeavour to manage the planning landscape of Tobago. In this regard, both parties have agreed to join forces to advance both projects, which are critical for the improvement of Tobago’s built infrastructural development and spatial planning.

In conclusion, Minister Beckles made the commitment that team at Ministry of Planning and Development, as well as agencies under the Ministry's purview, will make every effort to work closely with the THA, to achieve national development.