Chief Secretary Calls on Tobagonians to Support Government’s Efforts to Fix the Sea Bridge

Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles is calling on Tobagonians to support the Government in its attempts to rectify the deficiencies on the sea bridge.

This is in response to recent claims by the Opposition that the soon to be leased fast ferry, ‘Jean De La Valette’, has a questionable procurement process, among other issues.  However, the Ministry of Works and Transport and NIDCO, held a press conference yesterday (April 04), to clear the air on the matter and to provide the nation with information concerning the procurement of the vessel and its suitability to the Trinidad and Tobago sea bridge.

Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles is encouraging Tobagonians, to refrain from being swayed by the negative comments about the fast ferry.  “I believe that Minister Sinanan and NIDCO in their press conference yesterday, have provided pertinent information to allay the fears of Tobagonians regarding this ferry”, said Chief Secretary Charles.  “What I see is a Government making every attempt to rectify an inherited problem and that in itself, owing to the nature of the industry, has not been a smooth and easy journey. However, I want to assure Tobagonians, that it is not the intention of this Government and the Tobago House of Assembly to deceive them and therefore, it is important that we speak out when we see others seeking to hamper and hinder our progress and development with mischief and misinformation”, the Chief Secretary adds.

At the press conference yesterday, held by Works and Transport’s Minister Rohan Sinanan, President of NIDCO, Esther Farmer, Deputy Chairman of NIDCO, Stephen Gardiner and Chairman of the Port Authority, Lyle Alexander, it was revealed that the procurement process for the ‘Jean De La Valette’ fast ferry, included requests for tenders in the Trinidad Express and the Newsday papers in August of 2018.  The team confirmed that among the tenders received, the ‘Jean De La Valette’ is the newest ferry (10years), is in a very impressive condition, uses a maintenance model that ensures it is well maintained and has the specifications most suited to the needs of the Trinidad and Tobago sea bridge, including the capacity to accommodate heavy cargo, which can supplement the Cabo Star.

Deputy Chairman of NIDCO, Stephen Gardiner, also noted at yesterday’s press conference, that the concerns and the requests of the Tobago Chapter of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce were taken into consideration, citing that reliability was a major criterion, as well as providing a vessel with a degree of comfort, pride and top class service.

The Chief Secretary says he is in full support of the Central Government and is confident that it will make every effort to restore reliability of the Trinidad and Tobago sea bridge.

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