Reopen island’s beaches: Call from Tobago Chamber
THE Tobago Business Chamber is urging the Government to remove restrictions on beaches, as the organisation believes the beach ban has outlived its usefulness.
The chamber chairman, Martin George, in a video post sent to the media yesterday, said that most Trinidadians who visit Tobago for vacation always want to go to the beach with their families.
“It is high time that the restriction be lifted as the beaches are also a tourism revenue earner and many people who work at the various beaches have been out of a job for several months,” George said.
Many other bar and restaurant owners in Tobago expressed the same sentiments last week to the media, saying that while their respective industries have reopened things will remain slow until the beaches are reopened and international flights to the island resume.
At one of last month’s Ministry of Health virtual conference, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said the beaches remain a no-go as the Delta variant’s prevalence makes gatherings much riskier.
Parasram added that although outdoor settings have been touted as safer environments to prevent the spread of the disease, the Delta variant is much more air-borne than the others, making it a serious threat.
George repeated his call for the Government to consider repealing the Foreign Investment Act.
“There are lots of persons who would love to make direct foreign investment in Tobago, but that Act has crippled and stifled all foreign investment in Tobago since 2008,” George said.
In a time where the country is crying out for foreign exchange, you still have the Government with this absurd and archaic legislation, which is blocking direct foreign investment, he said.
He noted that all other countries in the Caribbean are welcoming foreign investment, by implementing investment-friendly initiatives, “yet we in Tobago are so foolishly clinging on to this piece of Act.”
He also called for VAT to be removed from all goods and services on the island.
“It will benefit not just Tobagonians. It will benefit Trinbagonians generally. If you are living on a VAT-free island, it will be very attractive to tourism and even Trinidadians who will want to retire.”
George called Government to try to revive the economy and stop paying lip service to that.
The Tobago Business Chamber head also wants to see an increase in the vaccination process.
He noted that if persons do not want to do it voluntarily this administration should consider outing a timeline of January 1, 2022, as the deadline date for mandatory vaccinations, to ensure the country’s economy is able to be fully reopened.
As of yesterday, figures from the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) show 21,404 persons were fully vaccinated.
By: Andrea Perez-Sobers