THE local yacht services sector is seeking a meeting with Minister of National Security Stuart Young to try to stimulate their industry by letting in boats from Grenada under covid19 protocols, said the Yacht Services Association of TT in a statement on Thursday.
The association noted Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh's recent statements that making new exemptions from the border lockdown would lead to a cascade of demands and risk past gains in protecting TT from covid19. It noted existing exceptions for foreign nationals to enter TT for the energy, manufacturing, and education sectors who arrive by air and then quarantine at facilities allocated for repatriated TT nationals.
"For persons arriving by sea no such burden on the repatriation system can be claimed. Arrivals can easily and effectively quarantine on their vessels out at sea. This will not cost the taxpayer a single dollar as these cruisers are self-sufficient and, in fact, expect to pay their way."
The association has sought a meeting with Young and Deyalsingh to discuss exemptions for vessels from Grenada, purportedly covid19-free, which would quarantine in TT waters.
"Some of these crews have already been vaccinated. In following the safety protocols there is incredibly low risk of losing the progress made in combating the viral spread in this nation."
The association thanked the Government for keeping TT safe from covid19, but lamented a lack of discussion with stakeholders on the next steps for the industry.
Asking for a meeting with Young, the association said that after meeting stakeholders, including the TT Coast Guard, Port Health, and the Chief Medical Officer, it has drafted proposals to allow
arrivals strictly within covid19 regulations.
"Many potential customers to the industry are awaiting a clearly laid out plan from our Government as the upcoming hurricane season is approaching fast."
Grenada and other islands have been open to boats, the association said, and with health protocols in place have had no reported cases of covid19.
The association advocated for foreign exchange earnings.
"The marine and yacht services industry has not been allowed to open since we shut our borders last March."
Many such businesses could not generate any income, compared to the manufacturing sector and others, the association complained.
"With nearly 2,000 workers depending on these maritime arrivals for their income, the industry is on the brink of collapse.
"With no clear outline as to how to proceed for the upcoming season many fear the complete loss of their livelihoods."