Declare the Speyside Bay Reef and its surrounding areas a marine park. That’s what residents in the east Tobago seaside village of Speyside are asking for.
During the Tobago House of Assembly’s Face to Face community meeting at the Speyside High School, diver Sean Robinson said the area was declared a marine park 15 years ago but the accompanying legislation was not done.
According to Robinson, diving plays an instrumental part in Tobago’s tourism industry, especially in Speyside. He said it’s considered “one of the ten top diving sites” in the world.
Robinson said a lot of work has gone into this and wanted to see the Assembly once and for all taking the lead in having this now declared.
He said declaring the area a marine park will both protect the reef and also provide great marketing mileage.
“Very soon if we don’t do this we are going to lose one of the wonders of the world,” he added.
Robinson also requested that repairs to the jetty at Little Tobago be done urgently to prevent injury to persons using it. He also wants a shed similar to that at Pigeon Point be built on the jetty.
Other requests from villagers included the sinking of a wreck off the Speyside coast to create an artificial reef, as well as the installation of CCTV cameras in the area to deter criminal activity.
Chief Secretary London told the audience that he would take personal responsibility to ensure that these requests are granted. He said the constituency is “well represented” by Assemblyman Tracy Davidson-Celestine who is the Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary of Tourism and Transportation. He added that the physical infrastructure has improved and urged the constituents to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Assembly.
“…You cannot simply place yourself in a position where you are consistently striving for more without ensuring that you do more with what you already have,” London said. “That is the challenge I want to throw out to all of us. Our community centres must be overutilised. Our playing fields must be over utilised. Our students must over perform in the schools. That is the kind of Tobago, that is the kind of electoral district, that we are trying to achieve.”
The Chief Secretary said the Assembly will continue to listen and respond to residents’ needs, and provide where resources are available.
Also during the meeting, area representative Assemblyman Tracy Davidson-Celestine pointed out that tourism is a major income earner in east Tobago and disclosed that 25,000 cruise ship visitors used the Charlotteville Port during the last tourist season.
Reporting to her constituents on the night, Davidson-Celestine said emergency ambulances are now stationed at Parlatuvier and Speyside, while 150 housing grants have been disbursed to residents.