Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 15th 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt March 15 - 2017
Tobago beaches to gain 'Blue Flag' status
The Tobago House of Assembly is seek-
ing Blue Flag certification for three beach-
es in Tobago.
Blue Flag certification is an indication
that a beach, marina or sustainable boat-
ing tourism has passed high environmen-
tal and quality standards set out by the
Foundation for Environmental Education
The FEE is a not-for-profit, non-gov-
ernmental organisation consisting of 65
organisations in 60 member countries in
Europe, Africa, Oceania, Asia, North Amer-
ica and South America.
The certificates, also seen as awards,
are issued annually once the criteria are
Last week, March 6-9th, FEE Executive
Board Member Lourdes Diaz-Colon met
with national authorities, partners and
national users of FEE programmes along
with potential national and international
donors. She also visited sites involved in
In Tobago, Diaz-Colon discussed Blue
Flag prospects for the island with Division
of Tourism officials.
The role of the Division of Public Util-
ities, Infrastructure and the Environment
in the sustainable development of Tobago's
seaside attractions and the global signif-
icance of "public-private" arrangement
with hoteliers occupying beach-front prop-
erties, were also discussed.
In Trinidad, Asclepius Green, National
Coordinator Blue Flag in Trinidad and
Tobago facilitated meetings with the Trin-
idad Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism asso-
ciation CEO, Mr Brian Frontin to discuss
green key possibilities in Trinidad and
FEE officials also visited Las Cuevas
with the Tourism Development Company
as well as the Lifeguard Unit for the
required Blue Flag International control
In photo (left to right): Assemblyman Sheldon Cunningham, Assistant Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment, members from
the Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation Felicia Rogers, Oona Mc Neil Benjamin and Sheriza Yacoob, Councillor Kwesi Des Vignes,
Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment, Lourdes, Diaz-Colon, Blue Flag Responsible and Executive Board Member of FEE, Blue
Flag National Coordinators, Karl Pilstl, Owner of Blue Haven Hotel and Mr Kieron McDougall, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Tourism, Culture
Former PATT board member: We were constructively dismissed
Former members of the Port Authority
of T&T (PATT) board were fired, former
member Ferdie Ferreira says. He claims the
board members were constructively dis-
missed by Cabinet one day after chairman
Christine Sahadeo tendered her resignation.
However, Ferreira's claim has been denied
by Works and Transport Minister Rohan
Sinanan, who insisted yesterday that the
board members resigned and "we accepted
Ferreira, a founding member of the People's
National Movement (PNM), told the T&T
Guardian he was not one to condone things
when they are going wrong.
"I will speak out if I feel things are not
right," he said.
Last week, Sinanan had speculated that
the board members may have resigned to
show solidarity with Sahadeo.
But Ferreira said yesterday this was not
"Let me make it clear, we had no infor-
mation, nor were we aware of the chairman's
resignation, so there could be no question
of solidarity or good or bad faith.
"Based on information which I got from
a very reliable source, we submitted our
resignations at 10.30 pm on the night of
Sunday 5th March."
He said it was curious that ten hours later
a new board was in place.
"What disturbs me the most is that a
chairman of a board appointed by the Gov-
ernment resigned and no reason for the
resignation has been advanced," he said
According to Ferreira's time line of events,
Sahadeo resigned on February 22 and her
resignation was accepted by Cabinet on Feb-
ruary 23. It was at that Cabinet meeting that
the board was "constructively dismissed", he
He said information which came to him
suggests that for the remaining board mem-
bers, including Michael Petersen, Ken Wright,
Radha Permanand, Mercia Alexis James and
Glen Wilson, one letter was prepared inform-
ing the minister of their resignations.
"The letter was drafted by one commis-
sioner and signed by all of us. It was emailed
to the Minister at 10.30pm on Sunday March
5," he said.
Ferreira said the board members resigned
to "protect themselves from the embarrass-
ment of being fired."
Contacted yesterday, however, Sinanan
said he could not discuss what transpired in
However, he said: "I can tell you that
shortly after receiving the resignation of the
chairman, I called the board members to a
meeting. I informed them that the chairman
had resigned and that the deputy chairman
Michael Patterson will act as chairman until
a new chairman was appointed.
"Ferreira did not attend the meeting. He
was not available. He said it was short notice."
Ferreira recalled being asked to attend a
meeting with the minister on Ash Wednes-
"I got a call from the Minister's office at
ten minutes to ten on Ash Wednesday morn-
ing, saying he wanted to meet with the board
members. I informed them it was short
notice," he said.
He said only Patterson and Wright attend-
ed the meeting.
However, Sinanan recalled that apart from
Ferreira, Permanand and Alexis-James were
the only board members absent from the
After he was asked to act as chairman,
Patterson called a meeting of the board for
March 6 at 1 pm. However, things took anoth-
er turn hours before that meeting.
Ferreira said: "At 11.15 am on Sunday March
5, I received information from an authentic
source that the board had been fired by the
Cabinet and a new board was going to be
announced on Monday March 6. I was sat-
isfied that we had been thrown under the
"I called Ken Wright, an attorney on the
board, and told him what I heard, I then
called the other board members. A letter was
drafted and we all signed it. It was emailed
to the minister at 10.30 pm on Sunday night."
Ferreira said it was curious a new board
was announced mere hours later.
"Even after we submitted our resignations
the minister could have asked us to hold on,
but he never asked us to reconsider. It is
curious that Cabinet met in an emergency
session and a new board was announced,"
"If the minister had a problem with the
board he should have called us in and spo-
ken to us."
But Sinanan said it was no secret that the
former PATT board had a lot of challenges.
"I came in November 2016 and the chal-
lenges were far and wide. The chairman
resigned, the board resigned and Cabinet did
what it had to do," he said.
Asked why none of the former board mem-
bers were retained, Sinanan said: "They
resigned, why would we re-appoint them?"
Ferreira admitted to some tensions with-
in the board, alleging this was because the
chairman got involved in the day-to-day
running of the port, which is contrary to
government's State Performance Manual. He
said things came to a head when she asked
the board to appoint Charmaine Lewis as
"Nine days later she asked the board to
revoke the appointment," he said.
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