“Cross-communication” is being blamed for the government’s decision only to allow international travellers through the Piarco International Airport when the country's borders reopen on July 17.
This was the response by WhatsApp to Newsday on Thursday by THA Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development Tracy Davidson-Celestine.
Davidson-Celestine said: “It is unfortunate that, there seems to be some cross communications with regards to Tobago’s readiness. Tobago is ready and open for business – our health system is also ready.”
After closing on March 21, 2020, the borders will reopen to international flights, only for nationals and vaccinated non-national travellers. However, these flights will not arrive at the ANR Robinson International Airport.
Last Friday, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young, while touring Piarco Airport, said, “Tobago has asked for more time to see how this works out, and we will work with Tobago. So right now, we don’t see any opening of international flights immediately to Tobago, but that will come. So right now, we are going to flow the traffic through Piarco.”
There has been disagreement over who made this request, as Davidson-Celestine previously told Newsday it was the hotel sector, but president of the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association (THTA) Chris James has promptly denied that.
However, Davidson-Celestine believes the measure allows for a lessening of the risks and heightened protection.
“Tobago is ready and will be open for business whenever the issues surrounding the spread of the virus allows for it. As I understand it, all of our borders will be open. However, as highlighted in the Prime Minister’s press conference last Saturday, all international flights will be cleared in Trinidad, even those with arrivals bound for Tobago. This allows for tighter controls, and a reduction of the risks associated with the covid19 and increasing Tobago’s protection.”
She added: “There are strict laws and policy guidelines that limit the movement of people within Trinidad and Tobago at the moment. I am also aware that some accommodation properties may not be fully ready, but I’m sure they will be making every effort to welcome guests.”