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Regional ferry service in spotlight again


BARRY ALLENYE

Regional ferry service in spotlight again

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Financial problems which continue to plague regional airline LIAT have again brought under the microscope the need for an affordable ferry service between islands in the Eastern Caribbean.

It was revealed over the weekend that LIAT needs $10 million to stay afloat.
Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, after a CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in St Kitts-Nevis last week, revealed LIAT had only enough cash to stay in operation for a little over a week.

Rowley said CARICOM heads also discussed the viability of a passenger sea-ferry service.

“Trinidad and Tobago was able to give our experience on the cost of operating such a service, which is heavily subsidised because they were talking about a fast ferry service,” he said.

Rowley said he told the heads that a fast ferry service was expensive but another type of vessel might be more viable.
“We are still looking at the possibility of some kind of sea ferry service,” he said.

Rowley said the group also discussed security as it relates to inter-island travel, which included adding a US$2 to US$3 surcharge on tickets between the Caribbean islands.

“Throughout the region, all our countries are facing a significant upsurge in crime,” he said.

The Trinidadian leader said there was also a call for countries to give priority to the Advanced Passenger Information System.

“This has to be paid for to make sure we have some element of control on matters of regional security.”

He said not all the CARICOM members were on board with the funding of regional security. “So we have been discussing again, from meeting to meeting, this question of applying a passenger surcharge and that money be used directly for supporting the budget required to fund the necessary security apparatus that I just mentioned,” he said.

“Trinidad and Tobago will be paid up,” he concluded.

 

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