Getting the Priorities Right?

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Paul Tallet
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Getting the Priorities Right?

Post by Paul Tallet » Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:22 pm

Read this ...

http://www.thetobagonews.com/news/Booki ... 19661.html

It is very quiet in Tobago. Very few UK tourists and lots of tourists from Scandinavia. So not a very good idea to allow this new tourism source to be harmed.

... and this ...

http://www.thetobagonews.com/news/Tobag ... 19601.html

I think are some other priorities (re.; above) ... and the thought that beautiful Hermitage Bay is on a shortlist considered for the development of a Marina is the biggest joke I have seen for years.

Please come to your senses, Tobago.

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Glyn Kirpalani
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Re: Getting the Priorities Right?

Post by Glyn Kirpalani » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:54 am

Here here. The problem is Paul that for the THA to throw human and material resources at solving the crime problems on the island, would divert the big cash from the projects (such as marinas etc) which hold such juicy opportunities for financial and egotistical/political personal self-enrichment for them.

How can they siphon off big amounts of cash for their own overseas bank accounts through kick-backs and by hiring family owned firms, if the cash has instead been spent on police officers wages and equipment?

The net result of any new marina, if it happens, will be more regular armed robberies of yachties as happened last year, and empty berths. But we must be optimistic and hope that I am wrong!

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Re: Getting the Priorities Right?

Post by Glyn Kirpalani » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:05 am

Paul, after replying I opened up the Express and found this article, which may help to inform you and others as to why money is seldom available to solve the obvious social or logistical needs of the islands: http://www.trinidadexpress.com/commenta ... 75761.html

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Steve Wooler
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Re: Getting the Priorities Right?

Post by Steve Wooler » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:26 am

Hi Paul

We have had a warning about Argyle Falls in our Sightseeing listing for that feature since early 2009. Unaccompanied visitors are regularly hassled by “touts” at the entrance to the falls and it is very important not to go there except during normal hours and with a reputable local guide. Never use any of the so-called guides offering services outside the falls. I am even sceptical of the official guides inside the falls, to be truthful; they know exactly who the bad guys are but have done nothing to help the authorities identify and sort the problem.

Having said that, the ‘incident’ reported by the Tobago News may have been a total ‘non-incident’. Even allowing for commercial self-interest, most of my sources agree on the basics.

It would appear that three young Norwegian visitors claimed that a local guy grabbed and ran off with a rucksack. They did not alert the authorities at the Falls, or the Roxborough police. They were later seen outside Crown Point police station where they told a police officer that they had been robbed. They declined to make a statement and just wanted a letter from the police for their insurance company. They did not even mention the incident to their local tour representative. I don't mean to trivialise the incident, but it does smack of someone wanting to make an insurance claim - an increasingly common occurrence in every holiday destination.

So, the incident may or may not have happened. If it did, then it is clearly highly regrettable and it is incumbent on the authorities to do something about it. In fairness, they can’t do much if the victims won’t make a statement.

I am angry and disappointed that the Tobago News should make irresponsible claims of bookings being cancelled as a result of the incident. The truth is that none of the tour operators seem to know anything about the incident, much less about cancellations resulting from it. This includes the Scandinavian tour operator who categorically denies cancellations. Even the Tourism division of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) issued a press release denying the claims.

I always hear from properties very quickly when anything happens that results in cancellations. I have had NO reports regarding this alleged incident. Tobago has enough of a problem trying to salvage and hang on to the little that remains of its tourism industry without the local gutter press making up stories.

As regards the ports and marinas, we must be fair to the local powers-that-be. The brown envelope syndrome rules in Tobago and awarding contracts for such fancy projects helps build pension funds. Like every other project, they will be a total failure. As you say Paul, “come to your senses, Tobago”.
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Re: Getting the Priorities Right?

Post by Paul Tallet » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:23 pm

Glyn's response in the Travel Forum regarding the cancellation of Virgin Flights pretty much tells the political story.

Tobago simply cannot have the capacity for Marinas and extra Ports unless it upgrades the airport and it has been saying it will for the last 10 years. Virgin got fed up waiting.

People will not necessarily sail to Tobago. A Marina is a reception but also a place to park your boat and visit it on your holidays.

I think it's a joke and can't see it going anywhere further than a lucky politician getting a lucrative commission to report on the projects before they all fail.

I called into Bloody Bay yesterday and looked at the new Beach Facilities. There are facilities for men, women and a bar area ... about 5 people were employed there, 2 each in the mens and womens and one in the bar and probably more to keep the beach clean etc. There was also a Cashier to give you change to pay for the facilities. I was the only visitor greeting the bored, but smiling, man in the bar. And then I noticed a Security Guard in a concrete box staring at me (as I left) as if I was Dwight Yorke.

A big notice warns you that you must not park your car on the beach or play ball games and other such threatening information of the utmost stupidity that is sure to attract hoards of tourists to the area!!

If Bloody Bay makes a profit on this for the THA then I will happily believe that Hermitage Bay is the next Marina and Booby Island will contain all the new Government Offices.

Meanwhile I will get back to my holiday, I just heard that some Pigs are expected to fly across Castara Bay during the sunset ... better get a move on :mrgreen:

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Re: Getting the Priorities Right?

Post by Julian » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:27 pm

There were quite a few people at CoCo Reef at the weekend and there are a lot of people currently at Blue Waters including a recent influx of Americans (and at the risk of a frown or two!) they do like a bit of security.

I have noted a fair number of Scandanavians about a as well.

Is Castara quiet then Paul? I'm heading over this weekend with our sons plus girlfriends so a small increase in numbers! When I last looked Castara retreats looked fully booked so there should be a fair few peeps about?

Julian

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Re: Getting the Priorities Right?

Post by Glyn Kirpalani » Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:59 am

Steve's possible explanation is interesting. I recall chatting to the only decent, motivated and dogged police detective I ever met in Tobago (a lady whose name often appeared in the "crime solved" stories in Tobago News) and she said that in most of the cases of alleged backpacker or young tourist theft reports in or around hotels or tourist sites, when she really probed all they wanted was an insurance letter to claim back the cost, and not the goods back or "thieves" prosecuted. In some cases when she searched the rooms for clues she would find the missing items, and the alleged victims would brick themselves and rapidly withdraw their complaints.

It is a sad fact of life that such travellers cause the rest of us to pay higher premiums for travel insurance, and can skew crime figures in such a way against a tiny island. However, this may go in some way to explain why the Tobago police do not (do correct me if I am wrong!) ever give out letters or crime report numbers to anyone - the Pope will change religions before anyone gets any paperwork, fax or email from a Tobago police officer! Indeed, almost all of their paperwork and reports seem to consist of entries in the station diary, which conveniently goes missing (along with the "sick" officers in the case) on the day of a court case involving any local bigwig or politician who is rare and unlucky enough to find himself in front of the beak.

Sigh - if only every officer were as devoted as the female detective was, there would be no crime at all on the island.

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Re: Getting the Priorities Right?

Post by Steve Wooler » Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:26 am

Hi Glyn

Funnily enough, our posts crossed yesterday morning - i.e. you posted while I was writing my response.

Anyway, I must stress that I am NOT saying that there was no foundation to the alleged Argyle Falls incident and my heart goes out to those travellers if they WERE robbed. Anything like that can be very traumatic. All I am saying is that these travellers did not help themselves by failing to report the incident to ANY officials - at either the Falls, the Roxborough police or even their travel rep. I understand they didn’t even go into the police station in Crown Point, but only spoke to an officer outside after she came out to ask why they were hanging about in a huddle outside. Given the mixed messages that these visitors therefore gave out, my point was that it is shoddy journalism of the worst kind to have reported on the matter. Words fail me that they should compound the issue with lies about visitor cancellations.
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Re: Getting the Priorities Right?

Post by Paul Tallet » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:15 pm

Hi Julian

I have seen it busier.

Coco Reef and the other major resorts used to be full at this time of year.

Castara Retreats is booked up because they are simply excellent. I hope to go one more time before I return to the UK.

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Re: Getting the Priorities Right?

Post by Glyn Kirpalani » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:33 pm

Yes the standard of journalism in the Tobago News is not known for being high, the only 2 articles ever written of any merit were written by me, in my anti-crime campaign period of 2005 ish! (He says modestly).

Embarrassingly naïve of me to bother campaigning when I look back in the cool light of hindsight, but back then I stupidly believed that the authorities gave a monkeys about issues like crime and tourism, beyond a lip service level. If only I had realised then that their interest is purely self-serving, I would have saved my breath.

But there are still some good folk on the island who may one day change things, we must hope. There is always hope.

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Re: Getting the Priorities Right?

Post by Chris Runciman » Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:33 pm

Dear Paul
Apart from the odd day vacant here and there as a result of the airlines all flying on different days, we , and most places in Castara are almost fully booked! If we can not accommodate someone we give them a list of other places in the village and of course Steve, we do say 'have you tried Mytobago.info ??? Owners do pass on enquiries to others in the village.
We always suggest they take what they are offered can and ask around when you get to the village.

Alas as we arrive the day you leave the only chance for a possible beer will be across the road from the terminal...............

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Re: Getting the Priorities Right?

Post by Paul Tallet » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:58 pm

Hi Chris

I will look out for you ... I will arrive at the airport about 5 pm and our flight leaves at 7.10 pm ... so I will be loitering about until about 6.15 I reckon.

Sorry you couldn't make the KBC tomorrow.

I reckon I will be back again next Christmas ... becoming a bit of a habit, so hopefully see you again then.

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