Scarborough, Tobago.
CAMILLE McEACHNIE

The Tobago Business Chamber wants the Government to reopen Tobago and use its reopening as a test case to reopen Trinidad.

In a video message to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on October 14th, the chamber’s chairman, Martin George, said the island’s relatively small size of 116 square miles is the ideal place to test tourism-related COVID-19 policies and procedures.

“We are asking that you fully reopen the Tobago economy, use it as a test case, and let’s see if we can manage it,” Martin George urges in the video.

He added: “This is a win-win for both the Government and for the people.”

Martin George, chairman of the Tobago Business Chamber, during his video message to the Prime Minister on Wednesday 14 October 2020.

The Tobago Business Chamber chairman observes that the partial easing of restrictions, while a good start, do not go far enough, and has proven impractical for tour operators in Tobago, especially.

Martin George said times are hard on the island for everyone, and reopening it can help.

“There is a tremendous level of hardship being experienced by ordinary citizens,” George said. “It can be a way to go give a boost and fillip to economic recovery.”

According to statistics from the Tobago House of Assembly’s Finance and Enterprise Secretary, Joel Jack, approximately 6,000 persons working in the tourism industry have lost their jobs. He said tourism accounts for approximately 13 percent of the island’s Gross Domestic Product.

Last Sunday, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for countries around the world to stop using lockdowns as their primary COVID-19 control measure.