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Are we serious about the ferry?

Published: 
Sunday, April 8, 2018

There is no end of stories revolving around the ferry services between T&T. Every day there is a new development regarding this critical communication link between the two halves of our nation. The Cabo Star’s schedule has been erratic and the return of the T&T Spirit has been shifted again and again, while the fire on board the Trini Flash has damaged the reputation of this facility.

Add to that the uncertainty surrounding the arrival of the Galleons Passage and its deployment.

Prime Minister Rowley sought to put things in perspective when he declared that it was not true to say that Tobago’s shelves were running low on supplies. In fact, he confirmed that the situation was more one of stories being peddled by the media and the Opposition. These ferry woes beg the question whether we are serious about ensuring reliable links between the two islands.

We have examples of well-run ferry services right next door. Residents and visitors enjoy a very reliable connect around St Vincent and its many Grenadine islands. Reports are that there are regular services operated by the private sectors and that they have not had the kinds of troubles that we have been experiencing.

It may be time to look to the “small islands” for lessons and guidance in how to operate such a critical link and repair the damage that has been done. We can only hope that the arrival of the Galleons Passage will be the start of a more positive phase in the movement of passengers and goods between the two islands.

Small island pride

In the years of the West Indies Federation, the Caribbean demonstrated that it could stand together as one nation. Unfortunately, that grouping collapsed and several of the countries, except for Montserrat, would gain full independence.

The legacy of the Federation remains with us in the grouping of these same states under the Caribbean Community and Common Market that was birthed right here at Chaguaramas. The grouping has had its ups and downs but on reflection achieved more cohesion in a shorter space of time than did the states now known as the European Union. The reference to Dominica and other Eastern Caribbean states as “small islands” is disparaging, to say the least, since in that country’s case it has a larger landmass than Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, and St Kitts Nevis.

We should put an end to such references and recognise that it is not about size but an ability to be a nation-state. So let’s continue to rally around Dominica and other member states of our Caribbean community and do so with genuine empathy for the challenges that they face from time to time

Homage to our champions

National pride is one of the greatest values we can have as a country. When it appears in the form of world-class performances by our sportsmen and women it is an opportunity for all barriers to fall down in our homage to these champions. Let’s give them the support at the early stages of their development so that we can enjoy longer rides of pride.

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