Tobago Chamber welcomes the lifting of TT travel pass

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce president Diane Hadad.

THE Tobago Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the government’s decision to do away with the TT covid19 travel pass system by June 1.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh made the announcement at Wednesday’s virtual covid19 health briefing.

He reported that covid19 cases have averaged about 200 cases per day and based on international, regional and local data, there has been a weakening of the acute phase of the virus.

On Thursday, the chamber’s president Diane Hadad told Newsday, “I think that is one of the best things that could have happened. We have had a number of instances of people complaining of how monotonous the information on it is and how onerous it was to have to do it. It was not simple in terms of it getting done and most people were complaining about it.”

She said removing the TT travel pass will allow for ease of travel.

“People will have the freedom to move around and come to us and leave us so that it starts to open up the doors of movement again. So I think it is a move in the right direction.”

Hadad believes covid19 has come to a place where the human body has developed its natural immunity to the virus.

“At this stage, I think we need to start to change the mindset and declare that it is okay for us to live our lives freely again. I think it is time we start to move in that direction.”

As such, she also believes the wearing of face masks should be optional and not mandatory.

“So people can choose to wear it if they so desire.”

Hadad claimed some people are abusing the system “by taking quarantine for things that don’t even have positive tests.

“So there are instances where a child has flu-like symptoms, is sent home from school and although the child tested negative, the mother stayed home with the child and is thinking that she is entitled to quarantine and then proceeds to say that she has flu like symptoms, produces a negative test, but is in quarantine.”

She added, “People are now abusing a system in our country where one of our major issues is already low productivity. For a country that is limping, we need for persons to get up and twist the mindset into a positive mode at this stage.”

Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association vice-president Carol-Ann Birchwood-James believes the removal of the TT travel pass will allow for a return to some measure of normalcy on the island

“We have to be as normal as possible while still trying to be safe,” she told Newsday.

“We need visitors and foreign exchange because we are a tourism-based economy. We have to do like the rest of the world.”