In a release issued on Thursday Mrs. Gayadeen- Gopeesingh questioned the Minister’s involvement in the Port Authority’s decision to remove the T&T Express from service with immediate effect, which the PATT announced via a press release late on Wednesday.
“Was Minister Sinanan too preoccupied with the Aripo Savannas debacle to address the nation on this urgent development?” she challenged.
Mrs. Gopeesingh said, “Our tourism sector, particularly the Tobago market, has already suffered mass cancellations as a result of the high level of crime and the astronomical murder count, however; this is still Trinidad and Tobago’s peak tourism period for the year and now there is an increased burden to the sector following the collapse of the seabridge, which will hamper the movement of tourists and citizens between our islands.”
“Tourism creates jobs, both through direct employment within the industry and indirectly in sectors such as retail and transportation,” she noted. “Regrettably, as a result of this latest debacle these opportunities will be lost, and it is unlikely that business people will be able to recover.”
The MP lamented the disastrous position the inter-island sea bridge has arrived at under Sinanan’s stewardship. She highlighted the dissatisfaction expressed by several stakeholders, including the Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the All Tobago Fisherfolk Association, the Tobago Hoteliers and Tourism Association, the Tobago Truckers Association and the Tobago Unique Bed and Breakfast and Self-Catering Association. “We have virtually all the components of the tourism economy frustrated, disenchanted and angry at this point, and the Minister does not have the fortitude or the will to reassure the citizenry of a timely solution.”
Noting that the Finance Minister announced this week that the Galleons Passage would arrive in Trinidad and Tobago around the second week of April, the MP joined other stakeholders in expressing the hope that the vessel would be able to provide some relief. “Given their record so far, however, we are not confident that under the current leadership, the seabridge would be properly managed,” she stated. “It is too little, too late at this point, the opportunity to generate foreign exchange is dwindling at the moment; Carnival is in February this year not April.”
Recalling statements made by the Tobago Chamber last year the MP said, “Port and sea bridge operations are key indicators of this country’s trade; globally ports are huge profit centres contributing substantial revenues but how can we expect to attract investors and boost trade across our waters, when the reality in Tobago today, is sparse grocery shelves and delays or unavailability of critical supplies due to an inadequate inter island ferry.”
“Rohan Sinanan has failed to execute his duties as Minister of Works and Transport,” the MP said. “Since his appointment, he has single-handedly orchestrated the complete failure of the sea bridge, and for the sake of Trinidad and Tobago he must be removed.”
Vidia Gayadeen- Gopeesingh
Dated 8th February 2018.