Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 7th 2013 Contents A17
Saturday, September 7, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
CHARLES KONG SOO
Government s latest cabinet
reshuffle and the changing of
three Tourism Ministers in as
many years do not inspire con-
fidence among stakeholders.
The moves could have a desta-
bilising impact on investment
and negatively affect the $5 bil-
lion revenue earned from the
This was the consensus
among industry representatives
at the assessment of the Cabinet
re-shuffle at the Courtyard by
Marriott, Port-of-Spain, yes-
Vice president of the Trinidad
Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism
Association Kevin Kenny said:
"We re the one country in the
Caribbean that is consistently
starting over its tourism thrust
every two years, and that is in
essence the problem.
"That does not strike confi-
dence in the banking sector,
which is essential to the success
of the industry.
"It does not encourage new
investments to come in, neither
local investments where you re
not sure what the continuity of
the State s interest in tourism is.
"Tourism is a $5 billion annual
industry and employs directly
33,000 people, as many as, if
not more than in the manufac-
turing sector, and is a significant
contributor to the GDP with
approximately eight per cent."
He said foreign-exchange
earnings on room revenue alone
were US$150 million annually
and if T&T operated on the level
of the rest of the Caribbean it
could mean another US$60 mil-
lion annually that could come
into the coffers of the country.
Kenny said, however, to
accomplish that, resources and
planning must be put in place.
He said while the hotel indus-
try was responsible for the prof-
itability of individual hotels, the
State was responsible for cre-
ating destination demand.
He said the State had the
responsibility for marketing des-
tination, which had never been
properly funded or staffed and
the recurring plans for devel-
opment had haunted stakehold-
ers and were the reason why the
tourism sector was currently
President of the Tobago Hotel
and Tourism Association
(THTA), Chris James said Toba-
go didn t have the time to wait
for any learning or implemen-
tation period as it saw a 75 per
cent decrease in arrivals from
2005 to 2008.
James said there was a grow-
ing number of hotels in fore-
closure, with more added every
week, and many were just sur-
He said the sector needed
government intervention to halt
the foreclosures, stabilise the
industry in Tobago and to build
what was started in the last six
months under former Tourism
Minister Stephen Cadiz stew-
James said if Tobago experi-
enced any further delays it
would be very difficult for more
businesses to survive.
He said tourism was the main
economic driver in Tobago, there
was no other alternative, and it
affected almost every family and
James said not only must the
existing hotels be saved but they
must have the confidence to
refurbish. He said a minimum
of 1,500 quality rooms needed
to be built in Tobago and any
destabilisation and lack of con-
fidence would not attract
with tourism 'shuffle'
No continuity in industry
New National Security Min-
ister Gary Griffith has promised
to develop a close working rela-
tionship with the media and
make himself readily available
to answer questions.
Contacted yesterday, Griffith
said he would be "even more
accommodating" to the media
than his predecessors, as it was
important for the public to be
aware of what was talking place
via the media.
"Trying to secure a nation, it
has to do with anti-crime poli-
cies and procedures, but it also
has to do with proper commu-
nication," he said.
"Getting the citizens to be
aware of the policies and for
them to feel comfortable to
know that those anti-crime poli-
cies are put there for them and
"So it would involve a lot
more communication and obvi-
ously the conduit towards the
ministry of national security, the
public and the media, so as
much as possible I want to con-
tinue to utilise that."
Asked whether it would be a
smooth transition for him from
national security advisor to
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar to minister, Griffith
admitted his new portfolio
entailed a lot of work.
"In an any position that holds
ministerial responsibility there
would be a lot of responsibility
to it, but the actual work that
is required, I have a very good
working knowledge of what we
in progress," he said.
"I would just continue where
I left off and keep driving for-
ward to put the mechanisms in
place that are required to ensure
a safe nation."
Without going into detail,
Griffith said some of the meas-
ures he intended to push involved
the support of the public.
Asked whether he intended
to rejoin the United National
Congress, Griffith only said he
continued to be a supporter of
the People s Partnership Gov-
Griffith promises good work relation with media
Saying that a motion brought to Parliament by
Local Government Minister Dr Surujrattan Ram-
bachan was an insult and an abomination, there
was an outcry from members of both the People s
National Movement (PNM) and the Independent
Liberal Party (ILP) interim leader and MP for
Chaguanas West Jack Warner yesterday.
They protested over a motion to approve recom-
mendations by the Elections and Boundaries Com-
mission (EBC) for the alterations of electoral bound-
Former Local Government Minister Dr Surujrattan
Rambachan brought the motion during the sitting
to debate the Municipal Corporations (Amendment)
Bill in the Lower House.
The EBC report was submitted to Rambachan on
July 3, 2011 and recommends changes to the bound-
aries of Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo, Princes Town and
39 other district boundaries.
MPs on the opposition benches protested as Deputy
Speaker Nela Khan placed the motion before the
House for debate. Some MPs said they had only
received the documents on Thursday night, and
Warner said he had only received his in Parliament.
Opposition MP Colm Imbert complained that
Rambachan had received the report in July 2011. But
"On the eve of a local government election...we are
told today is the day to pass this. And that is what
the member for Tunapuna will get up and talk all
this empty words about participatory democracy.
He said the MP for Tunapuna, Winston Dookeran,
would condone the changing of boundaries for dis-
tricts the day before and an hour before.
Imbert said the motion was being debated on the
last day allowed by law, when Rambachan had had
the report since 2011. He said it was contempt for
Parliament and the nation, and no justification or
explanation was offered by Rambachan. It was a case
of, "Just take that and let us move on."
Imbert said there were anomalies in the corporations
and in some corporations the numbers could not be
"And now come on the eve of a local government
election and drop this on us and we have no oppor-
tunity---because they are not bringing any reforms,
they coming with a local government bill that does
nothing with respect to the way districts are allocated
within corporations. No connection between the
demographic of a region and the number of local
government seats...no opportunity to deal with any
of the boundaries," he said.
Imbert said it was an abomination and he rejected
it outright. The election could have been held using
the old system, he argued.
Warner began by saying it was deliberate. He said
he had been about to rise to make his contribution
to the Municipal Corporations Amendment Bill and
then there was an adjournment to discuss the motion.
Saying he was angry, Warner also called the motion
an abomination and asked how long it would last.
He said participatory democracy was a farce and the
motion was brought for him to read in five minutes.
Chaguanas, he said, had the highest demographic
and population shift in the country, and the motion
wa an insult to the people of Chaguanas and Chagua-
nas West, who did not deserve this.
Dookeran, in his contribution on the amendments
to the Municipal Corporations Act, said the step
toward proportional representation was a step toward
political reform that the country has been calling for.
The country, he said, had a strong appetite for getting
the politics right and he called on his parliamentary
colleagues to see the bill as a small step toward political
reform, saying it should not be reduced to arithmetic.
to task over
Trinidad Hotels, Restaurant and Tourism Association (THRTA) vice president Kevin Kenny, left, president Hassel Thom and president of
the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association (THTA) Chris James talk about the impact of the recent Cabinet reshuffle at a media
conference at the Marriott hotel, Invaders Bay, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
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