Thursday 18 April, 2019

Cadiz: Sea bridge a "disaster", Tobago will suffer during Easter

“It has gone from a well-run service in 2015 to a complete collapse an unmitigated disaster.”

This was the sentiment expressed by former Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz who slammed the current inter-island ferry woes labelling it a complete mess.

Cadiz took to his Facebook account on Monday to criticize the government’s handling of the sea bridge after the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT) issued a statement informing of its decision to pull the fast ferries from service “in the interest of public safety”.

In his post, Cadiz said Tobago stands to suffer a substantial loss during the Easter vacation as locals and foreigners will now seek other options.

“Tobago will now lose the Easter tourism trade. Both passenger ferries are now out of commission and unless you have to travel to Tobago people are going to explore other options.”

The former Government Minister also commented on the extra strain which would be placed on the air bridge as Caribbean Airlines will assist in picking up the slack.

“The most frightening part of the ferry service is the fact that each fast ferry has a passenger capacity of approximately 800, including crew. The air bridge is being used to take the sea bridge passengers. That would be an additional 800 passengers per day, one way.”

Raising issues with safety, Cadiz questioned whether staff and passengers were at risk every time the ferries would go into dry docking for repairs and then temporarily return for trial voyages, only to be dry docked again soon after.

“The ferries are obviously having major mechanical failures. Are these ferries safe or are the authorities taking chances with the lives of passengers?
I am not putting goat mouth on anyone. The safety of the passengers and crew is paramount. The fact that the ferries cannot go a day without being taken out of service is very telling!”

Cadiz also commented on the resignation of former PATT Chairman Alison Lewis who stepped down on March 9 and has told members of the media that she will not reconsider her decision.

He believes her decision was prompted by the current state of affairs.

“The Chairman of the PATT has resigned after just eleven months. We will never know why the resignation but it is obvious. Everything about the ferry service is a complete mess.”

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