Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Tourism body on Laventille cable cars fix crime, other key issues first
While the proposal to run cable cars from Fort Picton, Laventille to City Gate, Port-of-Spain, is good, president of the Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association, Hassel Thom, says there is a lot to be done before the proposal can become reality. He said, however, that this was the first time the association was hearing of it. His comment came in the wake of an announcement by Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development Dr Bhoe Tewarie on Sunday, that as part of a plan to rehabilitate Fort Picton, cable cars would be installed, with assistance from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Tewarie said he wanted the initiative to stimulate the imagination of the people and create a tourist site. But Thom said, for this to occur, issues such as crime in the area should be addressed
first before the plans are implemented. "While the initiative, in principle, could have a positive impact, a lot of issues need to be addressed before," he said. Thom said he hoped that the proposal is discussed with the Ministry of Tourism, led by Minister Stephen Cadiz, before going forward. More projects, he said, should not be undertaken until the issues are dealt with. During a meeting with residents of East Port-of-Spain last week, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar heard the concerns of residents from the area.
Chief among them were issues relating to sustainable jobs and housing. The meeting was sparked by a recent spate of murders in the Duncan Street area, Port-of-Spain. The PM hosted the meeting as she sought to get information on the social issues plaguing the community, since this could inform any possible plans the Government had for the community. Thom said the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development, along with the Ministry of Local Government and the Tourism Ministry, should also collaborate to "get our established sites up to scratch" before seeking to implement the cable car.
Also contacted yesterday, the Tourism Development Company (TDC) said it is not involved in the cable car plans. An official at the tourism company made the statement to the T&T Guardian during a brief phone interview. She was uncertain whether or not the company knew of the proposal. The Guardian website was also abuzz with responses to the proposal yesterday after the story was published. Several people were of the view that the burning issue of crime in the community needed to be addressed first before the Government could think of any other tourism-based initiatives.
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