One man’s misfortune can be another’s benefit.
Chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, Terry Rondon, is inviting displaced Tobago travellers to Toco if their travel plans have been disrupted by the cancellation of the sea bridge service between the two islands. On Wednesday, the Port Authority cancelled all sailings of the sole sea bridge ferry, the TT Express because of safety issues stemming from rough seas. The ferry is also due for a renewal of it seaworthiness certification, which expired midnight on Wednesday as well.
“When I saw on the news (what happened to the ferry) I sent my workers out and prepared some more recreation grounds, put extra toilets and increased camping sites for campers. The health centres for Matelot to Matura are open, and the three police stations, Matelot and Matura and Toco have extra officers on duty,” Rondon told Sunday Newsday. Water trucks to provide clean water are on standby, as well as cesspool trucks, water truck, a CEPEP gang, and 20 workers from the regional corporation are also on hand to welcome visitors, he added.
“This is my gift. All I ask is for them to be careful and safe because the beaches are rough; don’t drink and drive; and walk with your garbage bags,” he said.
Also looking to score some points was UNC chief whip David Lee, who issues a strongly-worded release on Thursday, condemning the latest in the ferry fiasco.
Lee condemned the government and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who is originally from Tobago, for failing to fulfill their promise of providing the TT sea-bridge with a passenger ferry before Carnival. This, Lee said, had lead to the further demise of Tobago’s economy.
Some businesses, he said, were already facing foreclosures, or else laying off employees , while routine inter-island travellers have been constantly inconvenienced and put in expense by the inability to have an effective passenger ferry servicing both islands. The arrival of the new ferry, Galleons Passage, will do little to amend the situation, Lee said, since it cannot compensate for the hundreds of thousands of dollars lost over the last few months, and the hundreds of local and foreign tourists who want to travel between both islands for Carnival.