Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles says he continues to be deeply saddened and disturbed by the circumstances surrounding the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT) and the management of the sea-bridge.
In response to the recent development where the T&T Express has been withdrawn from the route in the interest of public safety, Mr. Charles says, “There is no way I can be happy or comfortable about this new development, especially at this time. Carnival is a very important time in our nation, for both participants of the festival and non-participants who may simply choose to relax in Tobago. Both Trinidadians and Tobagonians are being affected. Our tourism is being affected and so too are many of our businesses.”
Mr. Charles added that, “The people of Tobago have been extremely patient and I sincerely empathize with all affected, and in particular our business community”.
The Port Authority in its release has indicated that arrangements are being made with Caribbean Airlines to accommodate their customers with confirmed bookings. However, Chief Secretary Charles says while he is in full support of ensuring safety measures be adhered to at the highest standard, PATT ought to have engaged in better contingency planning, in as much as it made recommendations for an extension of the license of the T&T Express to February 07, 2018. Therefore, the PATT ought to have been sufficiently proactive and aggressive in ensuring that the planned works on the T&T Spirit were expedited and completed to coincide with the expiration of the license of the T&T Express.
Chief Secretary Charles encourages all affected to hold firm in the face of these challenges. “It is not the time to give up all hope. We must search for the opportunities that may possibly be lying in wait in situations like these. I am sorry that this is happening but I continue to be hopeful that we are coming closer to the end of these ferry and sea-bridge woes”.