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Friday 23 March 2018

I did all I could

Former Port Authority chairman Alison Lewis.


FORMER chairman of the Port Authority of TT (PATT) Alison Lewis, who resigned last Thursday, said she did all she could to improve the inter-island seabridge.

For the past year, commute for businesspeople and tourists alike has been a rough with the termination of contracts for the Super Fast Galicia, the drydocking of the TT Spirit, the procurement of the Cabo Star and the new ferry, the Galleons Passage.

In a brief interview yesterday, Lewis denied allegations that she resigned because of her resistance to changes being made within the PATT.

Former minister Devant Maharaj said he was informed that Lewis resigned when she raised issues about the Cabo Star contract being renewed.

“My sources indicated that the Cabo Star contract was going to be up shortly. She recommended that it not be renewed, but the powers that be indicated that it be renewed and she was not prepared to go down that road. Also, I have been told that the Galleons Passage would be leased to the Port Authority through Nedco (National Entrepreneurship Development Company Ltd), and that is something that she was uncomfortable with,” Maharaj told Newsday yesterday.

However, Lewis denied this.

“I have done all that I can do and I have resigned,” Lewis said.

“All these are very false suppositions on people’s part. This has nothing to do with it. I made a decision based on all the facts that are before me and everything that has happened, and I have decided that it is time for me to go.”

Maharaj also alleged that members of the Galleons Passage crew have resigned because they were unwilling to risk their safety on the boat.

“They were unwilling to risk their lives from Japan to Hawaii because they were uncertain the boat could make that journey in such open water.

“The boat is totally unsuitable. The draft that the Galleons Passage has is a little over two compared to the Spirit which is over four, and normally those boats are not suitable for our waters.

“It is shorter than the two existing boats and the capacity is also deficient in that area,” he said.

Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan yesterday said he had no knowledge of this situation and this was the first he was hearing of it.

President of the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association Christopher James said the domestic arrivals to Tobago had significantly decreased within the last year.

“This is a saga, I don’t even know where to start,” James said.

“This has been going on for the last 12 months and we have had a substantial decrease in domestic tourism in Tobago. This is critical for us because our international arrivals have stagnated and we rely more on domestic arrivals, so the ongoing saga of the sea bridge is just not good for tourism in Tobago.”

Asked whether Lewis’ resignation would impact on PATT’s operations, James said he could not say. “I don’t know her very well, but I assumed she was doing her best. I don’t know what to say. I am just fed-up with the whole situation. It’s costing us a lot of money in the industry here and it needs to be resolved as quickly as possible.”


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