Tabaquite MP Dr. Surujrattan Rambachan, Couva North MP, Ms. Ramona Ramdial and Senator and UNC Public Relations Officer, Ms. Anita Haynes delivered remarks.
Dr. Rambachan expressed disappointment with the decision by the Speaker of the House to deny the motion he raised on Friday, 18th March 2018 in the House of Representatives to debate the collapse of the seabridge as a matter of urgent public importance.
“The Lower House is where the elected representatives sit, and as such the people of this country have an expectation that matters regarding their social and economic wellbeing would be brought to the attention of the Government through their elected representatives,” the Tabaquite MP said. “This is a democratic right.”
Dr. Rambachan also raised several concerns with regard to reports that the lease for the Cabo Star vessel, which currently operates on the Trinidad to Tobago seabridge, has been renewed, in spite of questions raised with regard to the procurement process in the award of the contract. [Please see details attached.]
MP Ramona Ramdial spoke of the impact of the collapse of the seabridge on Tobago’s tourism sector, noting that hoteliers on the sister isle have appealed to Government to intervene and provide assistance.
“What we are seeing is a complete lack of understanding on the part of the Government on how the tourism industry works, with respect to the need for a reliable and efficient airbridge and seabridge,” Ms. Ramdial said. “The Government talks about tourism as an area for economic diversification, but they have failed to put any measures in place to develop the industry, and with the collapse of the seabridge, we are witnessing a sharp decline in economic activity on the island.”
The Couva North MP called for the dismissal of Minister of Tourism Shamfa Cudjoe.
Senator Haynes criticized the Government’s inaction in dealing with the seabridge issues.
“There is a crisis, and instead of coming forward with solutions, the Government has chosen to label anyone who has spoken out on the issue as either a liar or a troublemaker,” the UNC PRO said. “If their policy is in hiding rather than finding solutions, then we cannot move forward.”
“We need greater transparency and accountability, and better governance,” Senator Haynes said.