Dream vacation cruisers scammed

One hundred and fifty Tobagonians and 50 Trinidadians are calling on their dream vacation organiser to repay them their hard-earned cash.

The passengers, who were expected to leave Tobago last Thursday on a private charter destined for Panama, then visit other countries such as Columbia, Curacao, Bonair and Aruba, said the trip never materialised.

One man speaking with Newsday Tobago on the condition of anonymity, said the team’s WhatsApp group told him last Wednesday the trip had been cancelled.

“We have a WhatsApp group that was created to ensure that messages are dispersed in a timely fashion and to all concerned. On Wednesday evening, a message popped up in the group advising persons that they should not report to the airport, as there were some challenges,” he said.

The man said when he enquired further, he was told the problem was that the flight chartered by the organiser would be unable to land at the ANR Robinson Airport at the 11pm scheduled time on April 13 as the airport is undergoing rehabilitation work to the runway, and closes at 10pm. He said he enquired further and was told that the airline could not make it in before the scheduled time, so the organiser was making new arrangements, which would further delay the plans.

While another woman said she was surprised at this news. as she thought everything was in place after months of meetings.

“We held several meeting prior to the trip’s date in which numerous discussions were had, so I really don’t understand what happened here. In June/ July 2016 and into 2018, we began making payments. We were even shown the hotel where we would have been staying.

"So what happened last Wednesday, when I get that message, I could have passed out. That is the truth,” she said.

Confused as she was, she said she suggested the hotel where the accommodation booking was allegedly made, as well as the cruise line, should be contacted but much to her surprise, when this was done, she was told there were no reservations for the would-be travellers.

She said it was then that the trip’s Tobago liaison officer intervened and contacted the organiser, and they were told they would be refunded their full payments through a Tobago based lawyer.

When Newsday Tobago tried to contac the lawyer, calls to her cellphone went unanswered. The trip’s Tobago liaison officer declined to comment. The local agent could not be reached, as calls and text to his mobile were not returned.

A member of the Fraud Squad confirmed it had received a report.


"Dream vacation cruisers scammed"

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