It is plain to see that the people of Tobago are suffering because of the collapse of the sea bridge!
The people of Tobago are suffering because the Government is incapable of bringing relief to them.
Promises over several months to bring relief are just that…promises. A promised new boat which set sail, cannot be found!
“Nobody in Tobago is suffering – get that right!”
Imagine that! This was the response from People’s National Movement’s Tobago East MP Ayanna Webster-Roy to Opposition MP, Ramona Ramdial, in Parliament on Friday.
Webster-Roy again insisted nobody in Tobago was suffering in the manner Ramdial suggested.
On a suggested food shortage, Webster-Roy said, “We have village harvests where food is freely given to thousands. Nobody in Tobago suffering for food.”
She said while the passenger ferry was out, the Cabo Star was operating and Caribbean Airlines was stepping up.
Ramdial had appealed for Government to give Tobago business people a bailout or assist with waiver of mortgage fees because they had lost out on a lot of income. She said Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe had little to show for her portfolio save a $59,000 phone roaming fee, “playing a blame game and labeling Tobago businesses fake in her usual style of high handedness and arrogance.”
Ramdial said the PNM’s mantra was stay out of Tobago business.
She said, “They feel Tobago is PNM country and they can abuse and ill-treat Tobagonians. But Tobago is the national issue. They can’t stop us talking on behalf of Tobago. It’s unfair how Tobago is being taken for granted.”
Ramdial said Jamaica pulled 4.3 million visitors in 2017 and Trinidad and Tobago, the lowest number.
She also said despite a Parliamentary team’s recommendation for the Tobago Jazz Festival to be private-sector run event, it’s still helmed by Tobago House of Assembly, costing overall $11 million with Liat fees.
In the past year, Tobago businesses suffered over $750 million in losses and the country has spent millions of dollars to fix the sea bridge problem. But as of today the crisis continues and now, businesses are saying without a Government bailout or some sort of assistance there is no hope of recovery.
Business owners in Tobago said they now face the opposite problem to what they did in the period May to July last year. Back then they had problems getting goods to stock their shelves and some shelves were empty, but today they say their shelves are stocked but the customers are just not there.
But according to Webster-Roy, nobody is suffering!