Tobago maxi taxi president: No hiccups at the port for Jewel of the Seas passengers

President of the Tobago Maxi-Taxi Drivers and Owners Association Cloyd Williams,
President of the Tobago Maxi-Taxi Drivers and Owners Association Cloyd Williams,

PASSENGERS on board the Jewel of the Seas had no problem getting transport for their pre-booked tours on Wednesday after the cruise ship docked at the Scarborough port, Tobago.

President of the Tobago Maxi Taxi Drivers and Owners Association Cloyd Williams claimed there were no hiccups as the tourists were fully catered for.

“Things proceeded smoothly. We had no problems, no hiccups. We had adequate buses, small buses, big buses,” he told Newsday.

Williams said there were about 17 organised tours.

“But there were a lot of freelancers for those who did not book a regular tour.”

In addition, he said, the Tobago House of Assembly has also decided to release some of the buses – 22 and 25-seaters – which were assigned to its education schools service initiative. The Public Transport Service Corporation also deployed about five buses to assist with the tours.

“Things are looking up and I am very, very optimistic.”

The tours included popular destinations such as Pigeon Point, Speyside, Tobago Forest Reserve and Little Tobago.

The Jewel of the Seas, a Radiance-class cruise ship, operated by Royal Caribbean, docked at the port at around 7.45am with an estimated 2,500 passengers. It is the third vessel to visit Tobago since the start of the cruise ship season.

The first, the Celebrity Silhouette, docked at the port on November 11 with 2,886 passengers.

But shortly after they disembarked, some 300 passengers learnt that their cruise tours had been cancelled. Secretary of the Division of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Tashia Burris later apologised to the ship’s captain, shore excursion manager and guest services director.

She said “although the THA is not responsible for providing transportation for the cruise ship tours, anything that could possibly cause damage to the destination will not be taken lightly and steps will be taken to mitigate against this in the future.”

Burris said the incident, though regrettable, provided an opportunity for the various transport providers as well as other stakeholders to review their systems to provide the best possible service as the industry grows.

On Wednesday, Williams regarded the incident as unfortunate, saying there was a “lapse” on the part of the organisers.

“No structure was put in place to accommodate 2,800 people. But Ms Burris did some damage control, which is good. So I am hoping there is no re-occurrence.”

In light of the fiasco, Minority Leader Kelvon Morris last week called on Chief Secretary Farley Augustine to review Burris’ role as tourism secretary.

He also feared the incident could cause Tobago to be blacklisted as a tourist destination.


"Tobago maxi taxi president: No hiccups at the port for Jewel of the Seas passengers"

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