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Thursday 16 August 2018
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Keep the ‘Spirit’ alive : Tobago Chamber demands proper maintenance work

CHAIRMAN of the Tobago Division of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Claude Benoit, is calling for the proper maintenance of the T&T Spirit which returned to the inter island sea route on Monday, after almost 10 months absence. The Chamber has been vocal in its cry for a solution to the ferry woes which have almost crippled the Tobago economy with several businesses closing and many on the verge of shutting their doors.The main periods of business for Tobagonians – Christmas, Carnival, Easter – saw a marked decrease in visitors, due to the unreliable transportation system. Many business owners also struggled to attain goods from Trinidad, hurting their cause even more.Commenting on the return of the T&T Spirit on Monday, Benoit expressed pleasure about the vessel’s return. “It is a good thing to see the Spirit back. It is very good for the travelling public that at least they now have a ferry,” he said. But he remains worried about the vessel’s longevity. “I am just concerned that it should stay running for a long time. I hope that the persons who are in charge of the maintenance of the vessel maintain all the maintenance schedules to ensure that it doesn’t go through the said problems that it encountered before. I hope and pray that there will be no breaking-down of the vessel.“It is so important for us to have a reliable ferry for the rest of the year, but this can only be so if there is regular maintenance with all the requirements for keeping it running on time.” Speaking with Newsday Tobago last Saturday by phone, chairman of the Port Authority Lyle Alexander said there is need for improvement in the organisational structure at the authority, adding, “Those details are contained in a report which has been submitted to Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan.”Alexander said it is clear that maintenance of the vessels had been lacking and one of the things he wants to ensure as Port Chairman is that a proper maintenance schedule is carried out. The TT Spirit left Scarborough at 6.38am on Monday, arriving in Trinidad at 9.25am, with 308 passengers and 62 vehicles. It also made a return sailing, leaving Port of Spain at 4pm on Monday, to head back to Tobago.

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