Saturday 19 September, 2020

Tobago will bounce back from COVID-19 but compliance is key

Tobago West incumbent Shamfa Cudjoe wears her mask while on a walkabout.

Tobago West incumbent Shamfa Cudjoe wears her mask while on a walkabout.

Tobago’s hospitality industry was hit hard after COVID-19 caused the closure of T&T’s borders in March. The closure saw the temporary laying off of many in the local hospitality and auxiliary industries.  

While the island continues to contend with the effects, the incumbent Tobago West MP, Shamfa Cudjoe, is confident that Tobago will rebuild and be ready for the world’s reopening. 

“I think using this time to develop the product and to develop our tourism assets and to train our workers in customer service is imperative for when the world is open again to really travel,” she said. 

Despite the confidence, Cudjoe believes that both islands have much more to do in order to be completely compliant. She says everyone must do their part to make sure all citizens can make it out of the crisis. 

“We can do better; we can always do better. From the man and woman on the street to the store owner. I have been to the store and the owners says ‘Oh we have no COVID here’. 

“We have to act like the person next to us has it and we need to implement the different protocols. We as Trinbagonians have to be more obedient. The government can’t wash your hands for you, we can’t wear your mask for you,” she explained. 

It’ll be a change in culture for quite some time, but Cudjoe believes strongly in the people of Tobago and their ability to rise in the face of any challenge; even one as big as COVID-19. 

“We will recover, we’ll get back to business. We are going to be responsible and all will be well,” she promised. 

For now, Tobago is relying on domestic tourism between the Republic to stay afloat. Cudjoe believes it’s a good dry run to learn from as the world prepares to manage travel in the era of COVID-19. 

“COVID came out of nowhere and descended on Trinidad and Tobago and the rest of the world and it’s about being quick, being open to listening to the advice being given by the technical gurus like the Chief Medical Officer and his team and being able to utilise their assistance,” she said. 

She says that while we wait for the world to be ready, the hope is that businesses and citizens use the grants provided wisely so that Tobago can offer its best self when the time comes. 

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