TOBAGO truck drivers were left seething when Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley failed to stop and engage them shortly after he arrived at the port in Scarborough after a five-hour journey from Trinidad on the seabridge on Sunday. The ferry was scheduled to sail at 3pm but was delayed by about 45 minutes reportedly because of technical difficulties.
While at the port, Dr Rowley took the opportunity to speak with port officials as well as members of the public who were also there to utilise the service.
He however did not speak to the truckers, many of whom walked with placards to express their distress over days-long delays in getting trucks to and fro Trinidad and Tobago.
Just like he did the truckers, the PM failed to engage reporters at the exit gate of the Port as the TT Express docked at 9.30 pm. Three black, heavily-tinted SUVs pulled up and the Prime Minister was whisked away.
As the convoy drove past the waiting truckers and reporters, Dr Rowley lowered the glass of the window of the SUV he was in and waved. Not one trucker waved back or smiled.
As the PM left, truckers vented their anger saying they felt disrespected that Dr Rowley did not stop to hear their issues. “We feel disrespected, we feel insulted and what we intend to do is pen three letters; one to the Tobago East MP, one to the West MP and one to the Prime Minister to see if we could have some answers from them pertaining to what is taking place on the seabridge,” president of the Truckers and Traders Association Horace Amede said. The PM’s afternoon ferry trip followed a scare for passengers on the earlier Scarborough to Port-of-Spain sailing the same day when the TT Express’ turbo chargers began emitting smoke. Passengers assumed the ferry was on fire but cabin crew instructed those near the smoke to move to the other side of the vessel.
The ferry also reportedly stalled in the sea off Tobago for nearly an hour before it was restarted and was then escorted by a Coast Guard vessel to Port-of-Spain to be readied for its afternoon sailing.