The Yacht Services Association of TT (YSATT) is pleading with Government to allow for international yacht arrivals in order to save workers’ jobs and allow owners whose yachts are in TT to come and attend to their property.

In a statement issued yesterday by Sue-Ann Lee Loy, YSATT noted that since the beginning of the pandemic and border closures TT’s yacht services industry been largely shut down.

In the latter half of the year, Guardian Media noted at least three yachts moored in Chaguaramas which were submerged up to the top of their sails and another which was falling apart was in a cove near Hart’s Cut.

YSATT added, “The yacht services sector in Trinidad is world-class and operates as a direct foreign exchange earning industry – this income is being lost. Customers to this industry, directly and indirectly, support several thousands of local incomes and their families – their livelihood is being lost.”

“The jobs and quality/variety of services provided by our yacht service workers in Trinidad cannot be found anywhere else in the Caribbean. There are many yachts owned by international customers that are in storage in Trinidad. These customers are being barred from entry to return to their property as well as those who would like to sail to Trinidad to conduct much-needed work and repairs.”

YSATT stated there is “ perceived apathy on the Government’s part to the plight of our workforce.”

“There is no scientific basis for not granting travel exemptions to these customers of which Covid transmission risk is incredibly low and manageable. Among the yachting community in the Caribbean there have been no reported cases of Covid infection or transmission, and the same holds for the yachting community globally.”

“The majority of this population are of retirement age and take all precautions to reduce the risk to themselves and others from this viral pandemic.”

YSATT added,” In the months since the easing of lockdowns, Trinidadian borders have remained closed to international customers in spite of various protocols in place that would allow for safe arrivals by air or sea.”

“ Various other Caribbean nations, such as Grenada and St Lucia have successfully demonstrated the ability to welcome yachting customers through their ports with incredibly low risks of Covid transmission. This has been achieved through testing, quarantine periods aboard vessels in designated areas, or designated hotels, and other strict controls.

Last May, YSATT wrote the Roadmap Recovery Committee and following consultation a joint proposal, by YSATT and the Port Health Safety System (PHSS), for the safe reopening of the industry was submitted to the Chief Medical Officer.

In June, stakeholders and government agencies met to discuss the proposal.

But the association added to date it has been unable to secure any further meeting with the Ministers.