Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Farley Augustine says the Tobago contingent which attended the World Travel Market (WTM) in London from November 6-8 represented the island extremely well.
He was speaking on Tuesday night at a district town hall meeting at the Black Rock Multipurpose Facility. The meeting was organised for people in the Plymouth/Black Rock electoral district, represented by assemblyman Niall George.
At the WTM, Augustine led a delegation which included Secretary of the Division of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Tashia Burris, Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd executive chairman Alicia Edwards and Tobago Performing Arts Company artistic director Rayshawn Pierre-Kerr, among others.
Augustine told the audience, “I recently attended the World Travel Market along with a contingent from Tobago and I must say, you would be proud of the representation of your island in London.
“When you look at Tobago there, among the rest of the Caribbean – because Trinidad, as a tourism entity, did not accompany us – when you look at Tobago there, you could not tell that Tobago wasn’t batting in the big leagues, because we represented the island extremely well.”
He said the team also made “several meaningful contacts and negotiations, because we want to see tourism return as a major earner for the island.”
Once these materialise, he said, more Tobagonians will be employed in the hospitality sector and other areas.
“We talking about employing a whole lot more people, you talking about a lot more income in the space and all of the other sectors attached to it.”
In tourism, he said, “Tobago has a natural competitive advantage, and something that we ought to endorse.”
He also praised the Black Rock community for keeping the village’s spirit alive through pan and culture generally.
Singling out 2023 Panorama medium band champions Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra as an example, Augustine said, “Your band is not just the pride of Black Rock, but, to me, is the pride of Tobago…We thank you for so many other moments in our history as an island, making all of us proud. Thank you so much for that and the work that you put in. Thank you for taking care of so many young people through that pan theatre.”
He said the Katzenjammers pan theatre is an example of how community institutions ought to be built.
“You get the families out. You get the young people out. You build the facility. You build the asset and you leave it in the hands of the community and watch the community do something great with it.”
Augustine also recognised the accomplishments of Katzenjammers’ arranger Kersh Ramsey, wo led the band to victory in the competition.
Among those in the audience were PNM Tobago Council chairman Learie Paul and former THA members Cecil Caruth and Miriam Caesar-Moore.