Moored glass bottom boats at Pigeon Point in Tobago. (Image: VINDRA GOPAUL)
SHASTRI BOODAN

Buccoo Reef tour operators want the newly elected PDP-controlled Tobago House of Assembly to intercede to get the reef tour industry rolling once again.

On Wednesday, only a handful of persons had visited Store Bay to make use of the allotted seven hours to bathe. 

Tour Operator Ronnie Elliot told Guardian Media the industry has almost crumbled in the last two years. He said persons who once worked in the industry have now turned to CEPEP for employment. Elliot revealed that many glass bottom boats are in drydock or moored at Pigeon Point, and are in a state of disrepair

Tour operator, Ronnie Elliot, at Store Bay in Tobago. (Image: VINDRA GOPAUL)

“Is two long years the boatmen eh wuk and nobody ent thinking about the men who own the boat who is the pinnacle, the prime movers and shakers of movers in T&T. People coming and going to sea from 5 to 12.  Well at least granny could sap she knee now… hip hip hooray!  Forget the rest of we who have we family to feed,” Elliot said.

The tour operator explained: “We want money. The past administration [THA under the PNM] promised we all kind of thing.  We ent get nutten from them. The new administration in now, we will see what will happen.  Henceforth, as of now going forward, we will see what will happen.”

Elliot said he did not receive any grant for assistance.

“Tourist call every day,” he said.  “Since they open the beach, 100 people a day calling me. I have to tell them no tours yet because the boss, God say no tours… because the God and they down there say no tours. I thought the tourism product was to be protected but everything mash up… we in limbo.”

Elliot said tourism had come to a halt in all sectors in Tobago. He pointed to the fact that there are about 21 boats doing tours in the Crown Point area, and there are several employees and their families who are also dependent on them.

“We are just here suffering, God is good, we can’t get worse than this.”

When Guardian Media visited Crown Point, workers were seen cutting the overgrown lawns and washing the lifeguard booths.

At the nearby Pigeon Point, there was also maintenance work being done on the grounds. Despite its popularity, Pigeon Point had attracted a handful of local tourists and even fewer foreigners.

The famous Pigeon Point jetty also had been closed off to the public.

Tanisha Grace Burris, Secretary for Tourism on the THA, said the Assembly is being guided by the Public Health Regulations, just like all other institutions