THERE WERE no cheering spectators nor was there music blaring from speaker boxes at strategic points in Store Bay, Tobago.
Instead, police and coast guard officers outnumbered onlookers at the popular beach on Saturday for the climax of the 52nd edition of the TT Great Race.
The race was originally due to take place on August 22 but was postponed after the Prime Minister announced new restrictions to stem the spike in covid19 infections.
The TT Power Boat Association (TTPBA), which hosts the annual event, subsequently announced the Government had granted approval for the race to be held on September 26.
With covid19 restrictions still in effect for beaches, people, for the most part, stayed away from Store Bay.
TTPBA officials, media personnel, a bar owner and a handful of guests from the Crown Point Hotel witnessed the end of the race from the shore.
Veteran TTPBA member and retired educator Dr Cyril Collier told Sunday Newsday the race should have been cancelled.
He also complained about the large number of spectator boats near the finish line.“I think that was a problem, that they were not monitored as such because if one of these boat come at high speed and lose a steering, it is dangerous,” he said.
“It is said there should be no gathering and you see boats, party style near the finish line. I am looking at it from the safety point of view.”
Collier, who has raced competitively for close to 50 years, said covid19 had dampened the spirit of the event.
“Great race is about Tobago and spectatorship but there are no spectators.”
He added, “Store Bay is empty, at least we have some Tobagonians adhering to the regulations regarding covid19. On the beach you could not see a single soul on the beach. It is not the same great race.
“It is not the same great race. It does not even look like a great race.”
To add insult to injury, Collier said several of the popular boats, Mr Solo and Big Thunder, broke down during the course of the race.
Collier said he hoped the pandemic would end so that life could return to some semblance of normalcy.
“But, I don’t think this (race) was a good effort at all. It should have been postponed until the covid19 lift because Great Race is about Tobago and Tobago is about spectators.”