Frustration over closure of damaged Tobago jetties

A man looks at the damage on Friday after the Parlatuvier jetty broke into two pieces.  - DAVID REID
A man looks at the damage on Friday after the Parlatuvier jetty broke into two pieces. - DAVID REID

As the Parlatuvier jetty continues to deteriorate, electoral representative for Parlatuvier/ L’Anse Fourmi/ Speyside Farley Augustine said the situation is frustrating.

On Thursday, residents saw that not only had the jetty sunk a little deeper, but the landing had also now completely broken in two.

Concerned fishermen on Friday called on the authorities to provide a temporary solution to protect their livelihoods. Parlatuvier Fisherfolk Association PRO Marvin Lewis called for more respect for the industry and was adamant their concerns were not politically motivated.

He said,"We don't wanna deal with red, black or green right now. We want to deal with how we can get this jetty fixed and get people living again."

An aerial view of the broken Parlatuvier jetty. Fishermen are calling on the THA to provide a temporary solution. - DAVID REID

Augustine said on Thursday, “This is so frustrating – there is very little we can do in Parlatuvier, as that situation requires an expensive rebuild. That requires the executive council to do its job.

“This jetty first collapsed while Mrs (Tracy) Davidson-Celestine was the area representative and a member of the executive council – this was around 2012/2013. Look how long ago it is in this state. Clearly there was no interest in the blue economy and the economy of rural communities like Parlatuvier.”

Asked about his next move as area representative, he said he had no intentions of approaching any THA division for assistance.

“I am not going to waste my time any more. Reach out to them to remind them of their job? I don’t have that time to waste. They had 20 years to do their job and they continue to fail. Why is it every time we need some development in the countryside we have to reach out and beg and beg and beg?”

On the closure of the jetty at Little Tobago, he said a short-term approach is been worked on.

“I am working with the users of the island and we are working on a temporary solution ourselves and we will implement it ourselves.

“This PNM-led Executive Council has proven to be useless to us.”

He said the THA "should be ashamed. They are totally to be blamed for the state of the jetty at Little Tobago and the need to close off the island now. It has been donkey years that the village has been clamouring for a new j​​etty.

"I didn’t dream of entering representational politics when as a village we were clamouring for help – promises after promises. They have always not cared about people in my district and our needs. This is just another example.”

CAST: A fisherman casts his net on Thursday afternoon in the sea off Speyside in Tobago. PHOTO BY DAVID REID -

He said in Little Tobago, he met with the tour operators and experts who have built jetties all over the Caribbean and they are now looking at the possibility of building a wooden landing themselves.

“All of us pitching in and building this temporary system.

“Unfortunately, based on expert opinions, the same cannot be done in Parlatuvier.”

Augustine said the closure of the jetty could not have come at a worse time as tour operators look forward to the Easter period. He said several of them have already complained about cancellations.

The Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment is expected to hold a media conference on Monday to discuss plans for the reconstruction of Parlatuvier jetty and a CAF loan funding for the Little Tobago jetty project.

In a press release on Tuesday, the THA Division of Food Production, Forestry and Fisheries said the jetty at Little Tobago Island off Speyside was closed as it is fragmented and unsafe.

In another release on Wednesday, the division said the jetty at Parlatuvier has been damaged and is also unsafe, and its use is prohibited.

On February 22, fishermen in the area said part of the jetty had sunk ten feet and had separated from the landing by approximately five feet. They believe the damage was caused by rough seas. They called on the assembly to begin urgent repairs to the dilapidated jetty, which they say they have to use despite the risks.

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