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Wednesday 19 June 2019
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Amede: Discussions on Tobago shutdown ongoing


DISCUSSIONS are ongoing for the proposed two-day shutdown by businesses to protest Government’s inaction on issues affecting Tobago, notably the inefficient inter-island transport system, says Horace Amede, president of the Truckers and Traders Association.

Amede, who proposed the shutdown at a “Think Tank” on March 4 at Rovanel’s Resort, Store Bay Local Road, told Newsday the protest will come off with businesses being encouraged to close up shop for 48 hours to rest and reflect.

Having initially proposed that the shutdown take place before a planned meeting between the Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce and Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles tomorrow, Amede said the date will be announced after this meeting since discussions were still in the early stages.

“It can’t happen before Tuesday,” he said.

“What we have been doing is putting a couple of things together and then we’ll take it from there.

“I spoke to a couple people and we have a couple of ideas and we are trying to put it together before we can make an announcement, which will be soon, on where we will go from here.”

Amede said victimisation was the main reason Tobagonians have remained quiet on a number of issues, including the impact of the broken sea and air bridges, why businessmen have opted to stay away from protest action.

“People are saying to us that they are willing, but they are afraid they will be cut off from getting work from the THA (Tobago House of Assembly).

They are saying they must think about their bread and butter, but I am saying to them that just now they won’t have any bread and butter if we didn’t do something drastic.

“When I speak, I speak for those who don’t have a voice and for those in business who are afraid to be victimised. We are willing to talk on behalf of everyone to save Tobago from this dilemma we are in.”

Amede said he was prepared to negotiate with the THA.

“Even though we are willing to protest and shut down Tobago for two days, we still will be willing to talk and work with those in authority that will fix this issue once and for all, for the interest of Tobagonians and Trinidadians. We are willing to offer workable suggestions, but a message needs to be sent that Tobago has had enough.”

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