Pointe a Pierre Member of Parliament David Lee has condemned the Government and Prime Minister for failing to fulfill their promise of providing the Trinidad and Tobago sea-bridge with a passenger ferry before Carnival leading to the further demise of Tobago’s Economy. Responding to the news that the TT Express is being pulled out of service from the Sea-Bridge for the Carnival weekend, Lee said that yet again the broken Ferry promises and “Don’t care” approach of this administration is contributing to the demise and destruction of Tobago’s economy given the quantum of business that would be lost due to the absence of a ferry on the sea-bridge this weekend.
Lee labeled the government as being inept and incompetent because on December 5th 2017 the Prime Minister while speaking at the opening of the Cove Power Plant at Canoe Bay in Tobago committed and took responsibility to ensure that the Christmas and Carnival seasons doesn’t meet Tobago without a ferry, however two months later with Christmas long passed and Carnival a mere two days away that promise has been broken as the sea bridge is still without a ferry.
The Pointe a Pierre MP further stated that it is quite insulting how Government continues to promote the purchase and handing over of the new ferry; Galleons Passage as if it would magically become a solution to the crisis that this Government has sat idly by an allowed to brew for the past year. Lee said that Government should take responsibility for the fact that sustained damage has already been done to the Tobago Economy as some businesses are facing foreclosures, some firms have had to let off employees and routine inter-island travelers have been constantly inconvenienced and put in expense by the inability to have an effective passenger ferry servicing both islands.
MP Lee is of the view that the arrival of a new Ferry will not compensate for the thousands of dollars in revenue lost during the August 2017 vacation period, it will not compensate for the Hundreds of thousands of dollars in trade lost during the just concluded Christmas period and it certainly will not compensate for the loss of revenue the island will face this weekend as a result of the hundreds of local and foreign tourist who want to travel between both islands for Carnival being hampered.
Therefore Lee is advising the Government that it will take more than just the arrival of a new ferry to restore the Tobago economy which they have destroyed and the spirit of the Tobago people which they have broken.
The Pointe a Pierre MP is also demanding and calling on Government to come clean with the full details surrounding the Procurement of the Galleons Passage which is on its way to Trinidad. Noting that many Government officials in the past months including the Chairman of the PNM Franklyn Khan have stated that the Ferry was a “steal of a deal” due to its cheap cost, Lee has said that it is rare to see a Ferry with these specifications being sold significantly below its market price as is this one. The Pointe a Pierre MP has therefore called on the Minister of Finance to answer the following questions; “” Did Government refund the original Owners who commissioned the Ferry to be built their initial progress payments that was made to the Ship Building Company in a secret deal? Is the price of 17.4 million USD quoted by the Minister of Finance actually the balance owing to the shipyard to complete the ferry’s construction? What is the total price being paid to acquire this Ferry?”
The UNC Deputy Leader called out the Government for its persistent hypocrisy, saying that the PNM boasted about the virtues of Transparency and performance while they sat on the Opposition benches, but the way in which they have dealt with this Ferry issue as a government; disregarding accountability as well as the needs of our citizens has truly demonstrated how insensitive and misguided this Keith Rowley led administration is.