THA Minority Leader Kelvon Morris is calling on Chief Secretary Farley Augustine to urgently review the role of Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Tashia Burris after last weekend’s incident in which the pre-booked tours for 300 cruise-ship passengers were cancelled.
The passengers had arrived on board the Celebrity Silhouette cruise ship.
Morris fears the incident could cause Tobago to be blacklisted as a tourist destination.
At a news conference on Thursday at his office in Scarborough, Morris read a letter purportedly written to Burris by the Port Maxi and Taxis Federation of Association on October 27, 2022.
In the letter, Morris said, the association had expressed concerns about a possible shortage of maxis and buses to transport tourists during the 2022-2023 cruise ship season.
He said the association’s president at the time wrote that almost 100 per cent of buses and maxi taxis were contracted to the THA’s education schools service initiative.
As a result, the president said, only a few maxi taxis were available to fulfil the transport needs of the cruise liners.
The association, Morris said, had called for an urgent meeting with Burris and other stakeholders to address what it saw as a “major transportation problem.”
Morris said, “So we have a situation where the stakeholders are asking the person who has ultimate responsibility for policy, direction and control of the tourism sector in one of the major subsets of the tourism industry, that being cruises.
“Yet while the alarm bells were ringing, the secretary of tourism failed to address this issue that led to not only an embarrassment on the tourism sector, but all of Tobago, and more importantly, a situation that now has the potential to cause this island to be blacklisted.”