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Summit of contempt for Tobago's tourism industry
Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2009

...a trigger for national protest

By Pierre Small
March 25, 2009

Prime Minister Patrick Manning has been trying effortlessly to convince Trinidadians and Tobagonians that the Fifth Summit Of The Americas will bring them great prosperity 'in all areas of our economy.' This claim is being met with overwhelming skepticism throughout the country as the Prime Minister and his administration has become notorious for false promises, consistently failing, and short sighted policies in all areas of our economy.

The Prime Minister made special mention of one area that will benefit immediately and I quote, "additionally, and of immediate benefit, is the increased visitor arrivals for the Summit which will generate revenues for the country," unquote. The Prime Minister had an early opportunity to keep his promise and prove he means what he says, but as usual, he and his government have proven once again that the prosperity of Trinidadians and Tobagonians are of the least significance and concern to them.

In a letter to the Summit organizer and Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Mariano Browne, Tobago's Hotel owners argued of being left out of the Summit. Appealing to the Minister for some of the hotel business coming out of the Summit, it was met with an astonishing no! In his shocking and irrational response, the Minister claimed, "it is not logistically possible." Considering Trinidad is hosting this major event, while aiming at first world status by 2020 and with Tobago's tourism industry fearing collapse, logistics between Trinidad and Tobago is an incompetent excuse.

Tobago's tourism industry is in a catastrophic state, hotel occupancy rates are historically low, proving to be a regional humiliation. Further underscoring the government's contempt and insults with Tobago's tourism woes, there is no convincing strategy for immediate or long term relief in sight from our tourism officials. By not making an effort to help Tobago in their hour of desperate need, The Minister vehemently demonstrates the government's contempt for the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the survival and prosperity of Tobago's critical tourism sector. Had this government been concerned about the basic welfare of our people, logistics would never be a problem, but unfortunately this government is not one capable of meaningful action or competence.

This hypocritical position has now triggered a torrent of emotions among Trinidadians and Tobagonians that must now be seen beyond tourism and in relation to every other industry in Trinidad and Tobago.

This Summit will be remembered as the icon of Patrick Manning's futility and that of his administration. It will further confirm that the government's 'promises of prosperity in all areas of our economy' stemming from this Summit are nothing but their habitual rhetoric, once again deceiving the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidadians and Tobagonians must now take a stand against the tyranny and exploitation being experienced in our country. While the government attempts with all their might to put on the biggest carnival of deception to the world since our independence, we must now respond! We must send a strong message to the Americas that all is not well in Trinidad and Tobago! We are a broken nation, constantly living in fear from the rampant crime, economic depression and corruption plaguing us.

The time is right to rise up and come together using the oldest democratic institution at our disposal, that of peaceful protest. It is now up to everyone of us to take back this beleaguered country from contempt and corruption. Let us join and support fully the OWTU's contemplation of shutting down the Summit in protest. The alternative to doing nothing is living in the hell that is Trinidad and Tobago.

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