|Stewart-Phillips: The show goes on |
Melissa Doughty Tuesday, April 18 2017
WITH the Tobago Jazz Experience mere days away, the Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA) secretary of Tourism, Culture and Transportation Nadine Stewart-Phillips is assuring that no further interruptions would be had to the sea bridge and that the event would not be cancelled.
She said calls by THA minority leader Watson Duke for the festival’s cancellation would result in major financial loss. The festival begins on Saturday and runs until April 30. The event has a budget of $12 million this year, $3 million less than last year.
On Thursday last week, Duke said this year’s event should be cancelled until the issue of a ship for transporting cargo between Trinidad and Tobago is rectified given that the Super Fast Galicia will no longer operate here.
Stewart-Phillips said, “Mr Duke as minority leader is free to voice his opinion. It does not mean as a responsible assembly we would heed this call. What Mr Duke needs to understand, and even Tobago must understand, is that a significant amount of money has been invested into this festival and it cannot be cancelled at this stage because we would be at a major loss.” She said while concerns surrounding the sea bridge have been noted, the Port Authority as well as Caribbean Airlines have assured there would be no further interruptions for the festival.
“Concerns have been raised all around and we would have been in contact with officials at the Port Authority who have assured that they would do all in their power to ensure that the sea bridge is not further interrupted, in terms of the fast ferries, and that assurance also came from Caribbean Airlines.
“That is the most I can say at the moment. I understand and I know that the air and sea bridge are major concerns. They have been major concerns for a while. This did not just develop, but we are confident and hopeful that things will be regularised by then and even going forward, not just for the purpose of the jazz festival.” International Shipping, agents for the Super Fast Galicia, served the Port Authority notice that it would be withdrawing the vessel from the sea bridge.
Suggestions by the Government for use of a barge have been met with strong opposition from the Tobago Division of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce as well as wider Tobago.