Former CEO of the Land Settlement Agency (LSA) Dr Allen Sammy fears that if Government imposes property tax on squatters it would legitimise their occupancy on State and private lands.
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Vessel more than adequate
David Brash, managing director of Trinity Offshore Supply and Tow Ltd, which was recently awarded a contract to transport building materials and heavy equipment to Tobago on the Trinity Transporter barge, yesterday promised to deliver to the business community on time.
“I don’t think Tobago has enough cargo to fill the barge. It’s more than adequate. This barge carries a lot of big bulk cargo. We will see what will happen from this week,” Brash said.
Brash, whose company is based in South Oropouche, pleaded with Tobagonians to “keep an open mind. You will see that all the cargoes will be delivered exactly on time.”
His comments came in response to Tobago Chamber of Commerce chairman Demi John Cruikshank claim that stakeholders are still against the idea of a barge operating on the sea bridge.
Cruikshank’s comment came after the Port Authority of T&T (PATT) awarded Brash’s company the contract to transport cargo to on the sea bridge using its 70.2 metre long barge. The PATT also secured the MV Provider to replace the Super Fast Galicia, which will make is final voyage today.
The MV Provider will be used to transport container cargo and perishable goods.
From Sunday, both vessels, which have a longer sailing time than the Galicia, will service the inter-island ferry route.
PATT chairman Alison Lewis said the daily rent of the MV Provider will be US$14,500 while the Transporter will cost between US$8,000 to $10,000.
Asked yesterday if his company offered PATT a reduced price for use of its barge, Brash said yes.
“I gave them (PATT) a longer term price over 30 days. We don’t know if it is going to be there for more than two weeks. I still give it them.”
He said the barge will service Tobago at one third of the cost. Brash said three prices were offered to PATT in the tendering process. For a week or less, Brash said the cost was US$12,000 a day.
“We charge US$10,000 a day for 30 days or less. A daily fee of US$8,000 is charged for over 42 days. We agreed to give them (PATT) the barge for US$8,000 a day,” Brash disclosed.
Built in 1983, the Transporter was re-engineered in 2012, he said. Two years ago it was upgraded with bin walls.
“The barge can carry up to 5,000 metric tonnes,” Brash boasted.
On how many trucks it can accommodate, Brash said this would depend on their size.
“It can accommodate cars, trucks...whatever. The only thing you cannot put on it is passengers,” Brash said.
More efficient than Galicia
Also weighing in on the issue was vice president of the Shipping Association of T&T Garry Dalla Costa, who said the Transporter can accommodate three times more cargo than the Galicia.
Giving details about the Transporter, Dalla Costa said the Galicia can carry a capacity of 1,500 tonnes.
“So we are talking about three times the capacity. So on every one sailing of the Transporter you could have three times the capacity going to Tobago. I can give you that assurance she is in good shape,” Dalla Costa said.
“The Transporter will provide much more efficiency than the Galicia. The reason why I can tell you that, we used that vessel to transport cargo for several companies. The Tobago Chamber of Commerce has nothing to worry about.”
He said the Transporter was also heavily insured.
“The maritime authority has fully approved the Transporter.”
Dalla Costa said while the sailing time of the Transporter was ten hour while the Galicia takes five, “If I sail from Trinidad with a barge this afternoon it can arrive in Tobago early the next morning. It can work.”
Brash also insisted that his barge has a proven track record. It has transported aggregate, freight containers, drilling rigs, lowboys, trucks and trailers, he said.
He said the Transporter has been providing services to ports in Trinidad and Texas and Louisiana in the United States. It has also worked in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.
Brash also said the Tobago Chamber of Commerce was jumping the gun by making utterances without seeing the barge’s specifics or in operations.
“As a matter of fact, if the Chamber use their head well, they would get the quarry business in Tobago kicked off. They can use this barge to bring all the materials from Tobago to build the highways in Trinidad. There are a lot of benefits for their businessmen for this barge working in Tobago.”