TOBAGONIANS, walk on water!
This was the advice given by former UNC Transport Minister Jearlean John yesterday as she commented on the transportation crisis caused by the seabridge collapse and exacerbated by the fire and stalling on Tuesday of the vessel Trini Flash when an attempt was made by government to use the San Fernando to Port of Spain water taxi to service the seabridge.
John, the UNC’s Deputy Political Leader said the collapse of the seabridge was a self-inflicted wound by the PNM Government and because of it, Tobagonians were left to suffer and, “will have to walk on water like Jesus, to get to Trinidad.
“Because is really Jesus we need I think. He walked on water. We may want to pass that on to Tobagonians, walk on water with your car on your back. I don’t know. What needs to be done? We need a miracle,” John said at a press conference at the Office of the Opposition Leader on Charles Street in Port of Spain. She said it was Holy Thursday but unfortunately there was an unholy mess with caused by this Government.
John explained that as a Tobagonian, she has a keen interest in the seabridge and its collapse has left many citizens stranded in either Trinidad or Tobago. John recalled she was shocked and dismayed when she saw the rescue from the water taxi Trini Flash after it caught fire and saw people being handed, like cargo, between vessels. She described images of those traumatised as, “beyond distressing.”
John condemned as “flippant”, Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan’s description of the water taxi’s stalling off the North Coast as a “little mishap”. At the time of the water taxi’s stalling, Sinanan was out of the country on vacation.
She described it as “painful” to see old ladies jumping from boat to boat in the dark and predicted that, “people will die out there”, if the situation continued. John commended those involved in the rescue of the passengers of the Trini Flash as the “true heroes” and questioned why the Coast Guard did not respond. She said the lives of more than 60 people were in danger because of Government’s inability to solve a problem of their own making.
She explained that in Government’s “bigishness” the Super Fast Galicia was gotten rid of but there was no reason to do so and with nothing in place, the people of Tobago were left to suffer. John said the Port Authority Board was “gutted” and had collapsed and the situation would not have happened if this Government was not so wicked and vindictive. She recalled the Tobago business people describing the Super Fast Galicia as the best they had ever had and the board of the port said they signed a contract extending the service for 18 months. But “hapless” Sinanan said he knew nothing about the contract.
“He doesn’t know anything about anything. So here we are with a disaster of their own creation. A self-inflicted routing of Tobago. A Tobago tragedy.” She said it was grounds for Sinanan’s immediate dismissal and added that the Rowley-led Government had failed the people of Tobago. She stressed the country was fed up of excuses and distraction tactics. She recalled Sinanan gave the assurance that the T&T Spirit would be back in service by March 23. But this did not happen.
She said Tobago’s economy had effectively collapsed as hoteliers, restaurateurs and other business were unable to get much needed supplies and as such it is affecting their ability to remain in operation. She described the temporary substitution of the water taxi to run the seabridge as a “cut and paste” attempt and there was no sabotage of the seabridge but rather, another “s” word - stupidity.
Asked if the seabridge should be privatised, John said there was no need to do so with proper leadership but there is need for a transport minister who can lead. She also questioned why Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had not broken his silence having not spoken on the matter since he called the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower 2, a “crooked deal.”
John said there appeared to be a “bromance” between Rowley and Sinanan, who Rowley thanked on the night of the general election. However, she said, the immediate removal of Sinanan is necessary to restore Tobago’s faith in the hope and dreams in their son of the soil and “ah we boy”, Keith Rowley.
To Dr Rowley, John said, “Suspend for today your PNM loyalty. Suspend for today the politics, Mr Prime Minister. Be loyal to the island that conceived and nurtured you.” Asked what could be done to fix the situation, John responded: “call elections now.”