Moonilal urges government to resolve seabridge issues

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

OROPOUCHE EAST MP Dr Roodal Moonilal is calling on the authorities to resolve the issues on the seabridge “in the quickest possible time.”

He was referring to the disruptions caused by the absence of the MV Cabo Star after a fire broke out onboard the cargo vessel shortly after it left Tobago on August 23.

A replacement vessel, the Emprendedora, has been retained to service the inter-island route while the Cabo Star is undergoing repairs.

The Venezuelan vessel arrived at the Port of Port of Spain shortly before 1pm on Saturday and is expected to begin operating sometime next week.

In a statement on Saturday, Moonilal criticised the “lethargic response” of the authorities to the issue, describing it as “yet another crippling example of the failed Rowley Government.”

He said, “The current breakdown of the inter-island transportation system illustrates the inability of the disastrous ruling regime to manage even routine and entrenched matters.”

Moonilal claimed the breakdown on the seabridge is yet another example of Rohan Sinanan’s incompetence as Minister of Works and Transport.

The UNC MP accused the Prime Minister and his administration of being indifferent to the plight of Tobagonians.

“It is appalling that the Government – headed by a Tobago-born prime minister, no less – is indifferent toward the inability of a State agency to transport cargo to the sister isle, which depends on Trinidad for much of its goods.

“One wonders whether this inaction is a result of pure politics, after the demoralised and defeated PNM were driven away from the halls of the THA.”

Moonilal suggested that the “callous disregard” for Tobago’s residents, business operators and visitors symbolises an administration that has little interest in the welfare of the people.

“Tobagonians, who already endure a higher cost of living, are now subject to even steeper prices and shortages of essentials.

“The emergency is also a further setback for the struggling hospitality industry.”

He claimed the “arrogance and ineptitude” of the Rowley administration has filtered into several State agencies, “with the aloofness of the Port Authority being a present disturbing example.

“Instead of moving apace to resolve the issue, the leadership of the port agency has deflected blame and downplayed the urgent situation.”

Moonilal said the “anguished plea” from THA Minority Leader Kelvon Morris, whom he described as an operative of the ruling party, illustrates the depth of the crisis and his frustration over the Government’s negligence.

Morris, in a statement from his office on Thursday, urged the authorities to resolve the situation post-haste. He said Tobagonians deserved better.

Moonilal regarded the breakdown on the seabridge as the “latest in an unending string of calamities in the inter-island transport service under the PNM administration.

“Throughout its eight years in national office, the Rowley administration has presided over one such crisis after another, even after spending more than $1billion on new vessels.

“The prevailing disaster is a further stark revelation that the PNM Government is an unchecked catastrophe, having ruined virtually all aspects of national life.”