The APT James is about to put to sea in the Canary Islands to cross the Atlantic Ocean and the next time she sees land it would be Tobago, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has said.
Speaking on Monday night at the virtual launch of the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) campaign for the Tobago House of Assembly January 25 election, Rowley said the boat was delayed because of bad weather.
He said very soon after, the second vessel, the Buccoo Reef, will be in Tobago in a month or two.
The Prime Minister said when this happens a bridge would have been built between Scarborough and Port of Spain which never existed before because two of the best ferries in the world would be serving this leg.
Rowley also said Cabinet had just approved the disposal of the 24-year-old Express which could not be repaired because it had been wrecked and unserviced for so long.
“We sold it, as is, where is. We will get a few dollars for it and it goes,” he said.
The T&T Spirit, which has been “extensively overhauled”, was doing yeoman service since its repair, he said.
He said the Government now has five vessels—Galleons Passage, the T&T Spirit, Jean de La Valette; APT James and the Buccoo Reef. “We don’t need five vessels so we would have to rationalise that,” he said.
In addition, he said in order to deal with migrant control, two new Coast Guard vessels were coming from Australia very soon “to secure you better and to ensure that aspects of our economy offshore are better protected”.
The Prime Minister said even though world tourism is down, people will start back travelling in the not-too-distant future and when they start doing that, the new Tobago airport terminal would have been completed. He said his Government had been developing Tobago for the future.
“Tobago’s development has not been stymied. As a matter of fact, it is being accelerated,” he said, adding that the people of Tobago would be able to play a bigger role in T&T’s economy.