Business Chamber: Tobago has regressed in food security

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Tobago Business Chamber president Martin George –

Has Tobago made any real progress during the country’s 60 years as an independent nation?

Tobago Business Chamber chairman Martin George asked this question as TT prepares to celebrate Independence Day on Wednesday.

He told Newsday while there have been a few infrastructural developments in Tobago over the past 60 years, “It does not seem, when once balances it, that there is a net positive effect in terms of Tobago’s growth, development and maturity as an island as compared to what it should have and could have been.”

Alluding the recent robbery at the Silver Dollar casino in Shirvan Plaza, in which thieves made off with approximately $92,000 in cash, George said, “Crime is definitely on the increase and people are less safe than they were previously.

“They certainly are less safe than they were 60 years ago.

“So one wonders in 60 years where have we come in Tobago?”

He believes there have also been decreases in the island’s productivity and self-sustainability.

“In 1962, Tobago was self-sufficient to a large extent in terms of its own food production. “In fact, it used to be able to send food to Trinidad because so much was being grown in Tobago.

“Years ago, you would hear people talk about Tobago red fish, pigeon peas, the produce from the island because it was of such a high quality and produced in such abundance. Where are we now? It appears that we have regressed in all of these areas.”

George added, “So 60 years on looking at Tobago, if it is that we are less self-sufficient in terms of our food production, our food security and are more dependent on importing food or getting food from up the islands, we are less safe, less secure than before.”

Tobago hosts its Independence Day parade from 8.30 am at Parade Grounds, Dwight Yorke Stadium, Bacolet.

Later that day, there will also be a street festival at the Waterfront, Milford Road, Scarborough, from 3pm-11pm.

A fireworks display will also be held at the Waterfront from 8pm.