Trinidad and Tobago’s PNP leader misread my comments on Sandals Resort – PM
Wilson Duke
Front Page
June 21, 2024

Trinidad and Tobago’s PNP leader misread my comments on Sandals Resort – PM

Wilson Duke, political leader of Trindad and Tobago’s Progressive Democratic Patriots party, took to TikTok last week Tuesday June 11, 2024, to criticise Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves over comments he made regarding the construction of a Sandals Resort in Tobago.

On an episode of NBC’s Face to Face programme, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, Prime Minister Gonsalves told radio host, Johnny Straker that the situation was ironic.

“All I was saying, Patrick [Manning] help me build the airport, and it is ironic that this was done, and one of the consequences of it is that we got the Sandals Resort, which was originally intended for Tobago.”

He added, “There were some people in Tobago who opposed Sandals. I don’t know all the reasons, whether it’s the terms, whether it’s matters of the environment, whether they didn’t want a large hotel there. I don’t know.”


Dr Gonsalves said he attended the launch of a biography of the late Prime Minister Manning, where he and current Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, delivered addresses at the National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA) over the weekend of Saturday, June 8, 2024. The biography, titled ‘Manning: Faith and Vision,’ was authored by Professor, Bridget Brereton, and covers Manning’s life from childhood to his tenure as Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Gonsalves said while there, it appeared to some that in his speech, he mocked Tobago by commenting about the success of the newly opened US$250 million Sandals Resort at Buccament, St Vincent, which boasts 302 rooms, suites, and cabanas.

In a three minute TikTok video, Duke argued that the Sandals project was originally intended for Tobago with a 750-room resort, and was projected to generate over half a billion dollars annually.

He said that Tobagonians welcomed Sandals, but under specific terms, such as negotiating with Sandals to ensure that part of the projected revenue would be contributed to a sovereign wealth fund for Tobagonians, securing the best jobs for Tobagonians in Sandals, and ensuring fair treatment of all hotels on the island.

Duke alleged that PM Gonsalves’ comments might have been influenced by Prime Minister Rowley.

“He said that I did it to help Keith Rowley and the PNM [People’s National Movement] or I got the PNM version of things. It’s not none of that. All I’m saying is, Patrick help me build the airport, and really, it’s ironic. If we didn’t have this

airport, we would have never gotten Sandals, which was originally intended for Tobago.”