Tax amnesty, declining tourism figures, health and safety hazards of the Cabo Star, no proper destination marketing, prisoners unable to travel to Tobago for court and unpredictability of fruits and fresh produce on the island were some of the issues delved into by Tobago’s tourism stakeholders today.
For two hours, they sat in a meeting with Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort.
President of the Inter-island Truckers and Traders Association, Horace Amede said that the truckers are faced with numerous issues aboard the Cabo Star.
“The Cabo Star is here, it came with a lot of problems and there are still a lot of problems,” Amede said.
“There are a lot of insects, the toilets not working and the air-condition not working. This is what we are faced with on a daily basis and it is hard for a human being to be living like that. When the boat docks and the bathroom isn’t working and you don’t have water, the first thing you want to do when you get to the Port is to go relieve yourself or to go get something. We have members who are diabetic, members who need water or to go get something to eat and it’s not happening.”
He said they have written numerous letters voicing their frustration.
“We could work along with some consultants to put things in place because this is our livelihood and Tobago depends heavily on a proper inter-island ferry. Several letters were sent to the Office of the Prime Minister as well as our Tobago representatives and we are not happy as no one responded to us. For us to go forward and continue to build a country and a proper economy, we have to work together to get things working in Tobago.”
He made a call for the return of the 2pm sailing from Tobago aboard the cargo ferry and allow users to disembark at 6am.
“This will allow our members to get off the vessel in the morning and they would have a full day or at least six hours to do their jobs and get back on the port by 1pm and take the ferry back at 2pm,” he said.
Meanwhile, in response, Dr. Rowley said: “I have heard your concerns with regards the Cabo Star and I am sure that management of the Port and the vessel owners can treat with that because those are management issues, but the vessel has the capacity to service the island. The time scheduling that you mentioned, I am sure that the Port’s handling of the matter will make the best arrangement, those are things that the management can address,” he responded.