The incompetence of Prime Minster Dr. Keith Rowley is frightening in light of the continuing sea bridge issues affecting Tobago. The Tobago Chamber of Commerce, the Tobago Hoteliers and Tourism Association, the Tobago Truckers Association and the Tobago Unique Bed and Breakfast and Self-Catering Association have all condemned the government for its inability to rectify this persistent problem.
The Prime Minster has sought to bring relief by reaffirming the need to construct a ferry port at Toco. He has deemed this initiative as vital developmental work that will create economic activity and link the people of Tobago and Toco. Dr. Rowley clearly cannot be trusted to lead this country if he cannot stay true to his own convictions.
During a parliamentary debate on crime in the year 2000 on July 28th then opposition Member, Dr. Rowley was very critical of any activity in Toco, the following is what he said:
“The basis for this port is some Tobago to Toco ferry. Nobody in Tobago wants it; nobody in Tobago or Toco appreciates it; but that is the grease to have the product created. Do you know who is doing this? The Cabinet. By saying that it is a Tobago to Toco ferry, the Government is giving the impression that it is a public purpose and, under that category, the Government is now going to proceed to take away people’s homes to create this port. So, here we have a situation where those who are living on the land enjoying it now, protected by the law, the Government is seeking to find a mechanism to acquire their land, then give that land to other private citizens to make money. I tell you, Mr. Speaker, this Toco ferry port has nothing to do with the people of Tobago and Toco.”
The debate was on crime yet the Honorable Prime Minister saw it fit to mention the ferry, which bore no relevance to the debate.
Dr. Rowley needs to come clean and let us know what has brought about his change in position. When in Opposition he was critical of this project and declared that it was a money-making initiative by the then government. Does this change of heart allude to him or PNM financiers benefitting from this project?
National Infrastructure Development Company (NIDCO) Chairman Mr. Herbert George has estimated the proposed highway from Sangre Grande to Toco, to facilitate the ferry port, will cost tax payers as much as 5 billion dollars.
The Prime Minister needs to tell us where this funding is coming from and how much will it cost to build the ferry port as well. To date there has been no feasibility study, no cost benefit analysis and no environmental analysis to initiate construction.
This level of inconsistency and incompetence has trickled down to his government ministers where we are now seeing esteemed ministerial positions being treated like CEPEP and URP ten days projects. How can the citizenry specifically the Tobagonians expect the Keith Rowley led government to effect any change and truly run this country?
Vidia Gayadeen Gopeesingh
Dated: 30th August 2017.