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R.O.A.R.: Trinidad and Tobago's tourism officials at a loss, must now resign

Piere Small  Feb 24, 2009

Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Minister Joseph Ross is now claiming that carnival arrivals [are] looking good. All the honorable minister is doing here is trying to put a spin on the catastrophic tourism mess Trinidad and Tobago are in. He is boasting of high hotel bookings for carnival, this is highly questionable, recalling just a few days ago he admitted to a downward trend for carnival. Which is it Mr. Ross?

Let us assume we are in fact so booked for carnival, what about the rest of the year? What is going to happen then? What this minister fails to understand is the sporadic and successes he is referring to here is nothing when we consider our overall tourism predicament.

The pressure he must be under since the Tobago hotel owners broke their bad news of record low occupancy rates and the cancellation of the Jazz Festival has him grasping at straws and at a lost. I would not be surprised if the numbers he is referencing has been doctored for public consumption in light of our devastating and humiliating tourism turmoil. Deception has become the trend of Trinidad and Tobago's tourism officials, especially since they cannot deliver real results.

I must also emphasize, our tourism problems existed long before the global economic problems arose. Our tourism officials cannot, and must not use that as their scapegoat.

The minister also talked about 24 foreign journalists coming for carnival. We have been doing this every year and what is it doing for us? What results did it bring for our short- and long-term tourism stability? The fact is, it brought us nothing! Fellow Trinidad and Tobago citizens, don't loose focus here by the minister's propaganda. It is time the minister come clean and just tell us the truth and not continue attempting in vain to cover up his mess.

Tobago's devastating low hotel occupancy rate (except for the two days of carnival, according to Minister Ross), the canceled Jazz Festival and the indisputable fact that Trinidad and Tobago are at the bottom of Caribbean tourism and rapidly sinking further into oblivion, tells the true story. Not this politician trying to cover his failures and that of his Tourism Development Company.

Mr. Ross and the Tourism Development Company must now do the honorable thing and resign. We can't possibly get anything worse. How could they justify keeping their jobs to the public, seeing the tourism devastation before us? They are paid to do a job, and that is to bring results for our tourism sector, not more empty promises and rhetoric, which is their norm. They are consistently failing in their mandate, they must do the right thing and leave now! The Trinidad and Tobago public demands better. We have had enough of all their grandiose plans and rhetoric that has gotten us nowhere.

R.O.A.R.: Trinidad and Tobago's tourism officials at a loss, must now resign
Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Minister Joseph Ross (Image via

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