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Thursday 16 August 2018
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Letters to the Editor

Revisit the plans for ANR airport terminal

THE EDITOR: Judging from reports, it is clear there is a need to revisit the plans in place to build a new terminal building at the ANR Robinson International Airport.

Whatever might have been the cause of the dissensions expressed, whether by way of a previous failure by the authorities to engage in meaningful consultation with stakeholders, a decision to proceed, as now proposed, can only lead to dissatisfaction among those who will be affected adversely.

This is not an issue which hinges predominantly on the matter of compensation for those who would be dislocated. Of even more intrinsic value will be matters of environmental concern.

However, of much greater concern to some — with their current homes of long historical and familial attachment having been uprooted — is the need to be relocated to areas of different norms and customs.

What is clear is the unanimity of the need to construct a new modern terminal building at Crown Point were Tobago to position itself as a genuine competitor in the international tourism market — the Caribbean tourism market in the first instance.

However, no amount of promotional activity will see a bludgeoning in the Tobago tourism market in the relatively short term. In other words, there is still some time to allow for further consultation aimed at meeting, to as large extent as possible, the desires of stakeholders to be affected.

Projects of the nature contemplated are known to generate “heat” given the relatively large groups which are usually to be affected. The Tobago situation is therefore not in isolation and ought not to be taken for granted.

Memories tend to be short, but we do not have far to go.

In this regard, let us be reminded of the occurrences which had greeted the proposals to build the new terminal building at Piarco. Was this not a catalyst leading to the construction of the Oropune housing development?

Returning to the ANR project, it has even been mooted that proper planning and engineering ingenuity could allow for the new terminal building to be constructed within the environs of the existing facility, thus avoiding the disruptions which would ensue were a new building to be located to the south of the existing runway.

This alternate needs to be considered.

ERROL OC CUPID
, Trincity

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