“Good as any, better than many.”
That’s how Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles is describing the Cabo Star, the cargo vessel that will serve the inter-island route for at least the next year. Charles was among the delegation from Tobago that toured the ship yesterday (July 21, 2017) following its maiden voyage to Tobago. It will replace the Super Fast Galicia on the route.
Also in the delegation were Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy, Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Transportation Nadine Stewart-Phillips, Port Authority representatives and members of the Tobago arm of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, including president Demi-John Cruickshank.
After the tour, Charles said the boat is a step up from its predecessor.
“Certainly, by comparison we had nothing like this on the Galicia,” the Chief Secretary stated. “…There are times when sometimes as we make comparisons—because I remember hearing some comparisons on the basis of price—but at that time we had no idea those of us who made the comparisons [about] the quality of the appointment of the vessels.”
Asked whether a new boat would have been a better solution, Charles explained that it would take up to three years to have a custom-built vessel that would satisfy the country’s needs. He described the Cabo Star as an “intermediate arrangement”.
Charles was also asked whether the vessel will meet all of Tobago’s needs.
“From all appearances the capacity is more than the Galicia. That’s number one,” he said. “More importantly, what this means given how we treat with cargo between Trinidad and Tobago at this time, is that you’re going to have daily trips. In most of the Caribbean countries you don’t have a situation where a cargo boat arrives at port every day.”
The Chief Secretary added: “…In terms of both capacity as well as regularity, I do not see, at least in the short term, that we will be able to utilise this vessel to the maximum.”
Charles is also calling on everyone who uses the Cabo Star to respect the facility that has been provided and “treasure” it, instead of causing damage to the vessel.