Long lines, frustration at Scarborough port after post-hurricane backlog

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Passengers at the Scarborough port on Tuesday after all sailings were cancelled the preceding day due to Hurricane Beryl. – Photo courtesy Visual Styles

THERE was long lines and frustration at the Scarborough port on July 2 as hundreds of people who were left stranded in Tobago after the disruption to the seabridge caused by Hurricane Beryl on July 1, rushed to get on one of the three sailings to Trinidad.

All sailings were cancelled on July 1 owing to the hurricane, which passed the island without inflicting severe damage.

From as early as 4am, they descended on the Scarborough port desperate to get on-board one of the inter-island fast ferries. The sailings to Trinidad were at 12 noon, 4 pm and 5 pm, with those with confirmed tickets for July 2 being given first preference.

By 9 am, there was a line of cars stretching from the port almost 200m along Milford Road.

One Trinidadian woman in a vehicle said she was upset by the chaotic situation. She said she came to Tobago with her children and a few other friends for the Island Crashers party weekend and had a confirmed ticket to return on July 1.

“We were ready and prepared to go home on Monday, then came news of the cancellation of the sailings as a result of the hurricane. It was a case of safety first so we had no issues, but then we’re here today and I don’t think that the port is in a position to accommodate this arrangement – this is nonsense.”

Another passenger voiced her frustration.

“I came around 10am with a confirmed ticket for Tuesday but look, we’re in a line with all the (standby) passengers. They should come out, talk to the passengers, find out who have confirmed tickets and for when and what time, separate us – but they’re not doing that, so we’re all just here.”

Earlier in the day, one woman seeking to get on the sailing on standby was heard complaining that no standby tickets were being sold.

She told Newsday, “What it is they really doing? People out here in the sun burning. They ain’t taking in anybody on the boat unless it’s (tickets from) yesterday or today. Put people on the boat.”

Trinidadian Anil Thomas McIntosh said he had a confirmed ticket for July 1 and was desperate to get home.

“I came since 4am to get a sailing to go down to Trinidad. I’m still waiting as the first sailing came and gone. I see two more boats coming in. People would get on eventually, but the waiting process is kind of tedious.”

He said he was told that those with confirmed tickets would get through first.

“I understand. It’s not their fault really, it’s just circumstances, but I am still hopeful.”

Newsday spoke to TT Inter-island Transportation Company Limited (TTIT) acting CEO Vilma Lewis-Cockburn who said all affected passengers will be accommodated by July 3.