THE EDITOR: This letter is addressed particularly to those young people who may be seeking to be leaders – in whatever sphere – because you don’t have to be a politician to have influence over the governance of your country.
One of the main reasons our country is not a model of successful development after hundreds of billions of dollars have flowed through the Treasury is that we elect the politicians of our tribe and then refuse to hold them to account – because they belong to our tribe.
In a small country as this, are there significant subsidiary reasons for not offending those who hold government, which is by far the dominant economic player? Everyone from CEO to URP/CEPEP worker is afraid of victimisation.
The politicians are only scared of the populace when their time in office is coming to an end. If many more of us had shown courage over the past few decades our country would be in much better shape economically, socially and politically. We must have courage.
One instance in which a few individuals showed courage and it paid off was the opposition to the Sandals project.
That project was, is and always will be a bad idea for tourism in Tobago. We do not need to copy the ideas of other countries for which tourism is their main revenue source. Tourism is driven by people seeking a different experience from that of their own country. They wish to experience a different culture, food and entertainment being an important aspect of that. It is up to us to convince them to try what we have to offer,
Hotels in France and in Italy give emphasis to their native cuisine. Their native fast foods compete with McDonald’s, KFC and Subway.
Tourism that is based primarily on foreign inputs causes inflation and a large percentage of the net foreign currency earned is repatriated to the home country of the foreign investor.
Tobago does not need the Sandals-style investment. Before tourism restarts after covid19, Tobago has the opportunity to define its own paradigm for tourism. Here are some ideas:
1. For the upper-class tourist the Coco Reef style of establishment should be encouraged.
2. To their credit, many Tobagonians have invested in tourism villas. These should be graded so that foreign and local tourists can make an appropriate choice.
3. Encourage the young people who have graduated from the hotel school to jointly set up catering and cleaning businesses to cater to these villas.
4. For the lower end of the market, hostel-style establishments should be encouraged.
Creativity always wins out. Butch Stewart was creative for his own purposes. Tobagonians can be creative in their own interests.