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Sunday 18 August 2019
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Tobago suffers economic blow for Easter

THE plagued seabridge between Trinidad and Tobago would remain this way for an indefinite time since problems continue to crop up with the TT Spirit. The vessel, which had been on drydock for maintenance for the past 11 months, was supposed to have been put back in service before the Easter weekend.

Chairman of the Port Authority of TT Lyle Alexander yesterday said apart from all the other repairs, a motor now needed to be rewired. This caused many cancellations of visitors to Tobago which also affected the economy on the island.

Passengers with confirmed ferry tickets were being facilitated by Caribbean Airlines (CAL) until the Spirit came back on stream. LIAT has also been contracted to assist CAL until the seabridge was fully functional.

The water taxi Trini Flash was also being used to transport passengers when it caught on fire last Thursday and passengers had to be rescued by the cargo ferry Cabo Star.

Former president of the Inter-Island Transport Committee’s Tobago Division Dianne Hadad said Tobago’s economy suffered a blow during the Easter weekend because of the uncertainty of transport. She said there were several cancellations at the island’s various resorts and hotels.

“Suffer to go, suffer to come back, people have to get back to work,” she said.

Alexander said this was to be expected given the current situation.

Hadad said during Easter, the port usually brought in about 13,000 visitors to Tobago, while (CAL) would bring in about 10,000

“We would have clientele who could not bring their own cars or go to shop. They may rent cars, go out for dinner, they may spend money on the island in different ways. The island would benefit in a bigger way than somebody who comes with their family and puts their car on the ferry and brings food items with them.

“If there are people who do not want to walk with anything but to pay for their room, they rent a car and that is money stimulating the island’s economy.

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