Saving our children
April 7, 2018
Jesus, I trust in you
April 7, 2018

That small mishap to Tobago, and an odd OAS vote

It was a joyous Easter! It was a peaceful Easter! And it was, by T&T standards, a pretty much crime-free weekend. Praise the Lord!

But there is still so much happening in the country, it’s almost impossible to keep up with all the things affecting the citizenry: the complete collapse of the seabridge; the breakdown of the airbridge (two planes down on Good Friday); selecting a new police commissioner; a report on Faris Al-Rawi’s children photographed with big guns at Camp Cumuto; Imbert saying an economic turnaround is imminent; unavailable CDAP drugs; the murder count climbing uncontrollably; and Stuart Young staunchly defending Minister of National Security MP Dillon —just a few of the problems the people face.

See elderly people jumping from a water taxi to a cargo ferry in the middle of the ocean and in the dark night to boot. That must have been very traumatic. Unfortunately, this happened when the engine of the water taxi Trini Flash caught afire and shut down some five miles off the north coast near Maracas Bay. Even when the British controlled us this never happened.

But what is more interesting is that the Minister responsible, described it as “a small mishap” and once again the Prime Minister has not addressed the situation. I thought that even as a born Tobagonian, at least he would have said something to the population. He did not.

Reading of the passenger transfer took me back decades, when as an acolyte on day trips to Gasparee island, we had to climb from the small pirogue onto the higher pier. Even then it was distressing—and we were boys and this was always in daylight. How frightening it must have been for those 63 passengers.

The scene becomes even more terrifying when we read the long list of repairs that is needed to be done on both the TT Express and the ten-month, dry-docked TT Spirit. Somebody has to be held responsible for this critical situation on the vital seabridge. Not even in the colonial days did this happen – No vessel to travel to Tobago.

Remember when Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister of Tourism and MP for Tobago West said, “we in charge now”? Was she referring to being in charge of the nagging problems facing the vital seabridge service? Fewer tourists (local and foreign) are going to Tobago. The statistics tell the worrying tourism story.

Her partner in the House, the other Tobagonian MP working as a Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Ayanna Webster-Roy seems to have lost touch with Tobago when she claimed “Tobagonians are not suffering” because of the problems on the seabridge.

So, I presume the Chamber of Commerce, hoteliers and truckers were evading the truth when banks are foreclosing; businesses were being shut down and the hotels and guest houses remain empty. She must be living in a different world.

Apart from the ferry mismanagement there’s something even more embarrassing to this country, that Organisation of American States (OAS) vote. Trinidad & Tobago was the only country out of 35 which voted ‘NO’ when CARICOM neighbour Dominica, ravaged by Hurricane Maria last September, asked for a two-year waiver of fees.

We must bear in mind that it was our Prime Minister who, within days of the disaster, pleaded with Trinidadians and Tobagonians to open their doors to beleaguered Dominican families. Now this.

Either the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs doesn’t know what it is doing, or our diplomatic representatives are lacking in putting across exactly where we stand. And in all of this our Prime Minister Keith Rowley is strangely silent.