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What’s next on air/sea bridge?

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The existing crises with the air and sea bridges have reached fever pitch and everyone is feeling the pinch.

Although Chief Secretary Keith Charles should be given some credit for his May 17th address to Tobagonians as it’s the first time in the THA’s history a sitting Chief Secretary took the time to explain the Assembly’s actions to the population outside of the regularly scheduled New Year, Independence and Assembly Day periods, the address is poorly timed.

At this time Tobagonians are experiencing crisis after crisis- low tourists’ arrivals, low hotel and guest house occupancy rates, air and sea bridge crises and low water levels.

And there is the land tax issue. Yes, Tobagonians are facing similar challenges as their Trinidad counterparts but here the additional burden of the historical horror of an absence of land titles brought an additional layer of confusion

Add all of his to the perception of wanton waste at the recently concluded Tobago Jazz Experience, hundreds being sent home who were employed by the then Ministry of Tobago Development, charges of nepotism, failing health system and other pressing matters and the level of frustration becomes clear.

On the street, Tobagonians say they want solutions to their long-standing problems and not a perceived piecemeal or public relations approach. To the average man on the street, the struggle is real. The struggle to get to and from Trinidad, sometimes for health reasons, is too much.

Thus the scene played out on the interisland fast ferry T&T Express on May 22nd at the port of Port of Spain is a new normal on the island.

The action, to openly express dissatisfaction with a government that is controlled by a Tobagonian, is a sign of the level of desperation to which Tobagonians have descended.

Prior to now, Tobagonians -especially the older ones, reserved their comments and actions for their God and neighbours. But now more than ever some are resorting to expressing their views anonymously on various electronic talk shows.

It could be that people are so fed up with the existing situation. They have experienced the same problems repeatedly and there are no permanent solutions in sight.

These are the same problems that have been with the population through successive generations and successive governments. So far when each problem is addressed another surface.

For a while now, the feeling in some quarters is that more autonomy for Tobago will be beneficial and things will magically happen. To others, the magic begins in THA first exercising its authority to address issues under its purview. Those issues - agriculture, tourism and others - remain in a dismal state.