By twinning investigative journalism with reporting on development stimulated some very interesting perspectives from regional reporters assembled for the event.
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Fixing the inter-island ferry
Minister of Transport Stephen Cadiz took a particularly challenging bull by the horns with his forthright announcement at Thursday’s post-Cabinet press conference that the Government was making a serious effort to manage problems with the inter-island ferry service. The Warrior Spirit lost one of its engines on December 8, and efforts to repair the damage have since failed. The vessel is now taking much longer to make the journey between Trinidad and Tobago.
Some sailings are taking twice as long, running to 12 hours, as the ferry limps along under the power of its single remaining engine. The Warrior Spirit is responsible for both general cargo and heavy cargo, the steel beams, gravel, sand and other heavy building materials that are the lifeblood of the island’s development. Mr Cadiz was refreshingly forthcoming about both the problems the ferry Warrior Spirit is faced with, and the interim measures that had been taken to manage the shortfall in freight capacity.
The contract governing the lease of the vessel is being reviewed to ensure that the responsibility for its satisfactory operation is correctly assigned and that the Government gets value for money spent. For now, the freight ferry is operating every other day, not twice a day, but Mr Cadiz has made some sensible efforts to meet Tobago’s need for this vital service.