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Duke to raceGalleons Passagein a pirouge

Published: 
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
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PSA President Watson Duke speaks during the press conference. Photo by:NICOLE DRAYTON

Tobago House of Assembly Minority Leader Watson Duke intends to race the US$17.4 million Galleons Passage with a pirogue when it makes its first trip from Tobago with passengers.

Duke made the announcement at a press conference at his Public Services Association Port-of-Spain office yesterday.

In the last year, Duke said scores of Tobago businesses had to close their doors or went bankrupt because of the collapsed seabridge.

“It’s worrisome in Tobago because people who are coming to Tobago feel they would be stranded both by air and sea,” Duke said.

He said when Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced in January that the Galleons Passage had been found, it brought a great sigh of relief to those who relied heavily on the seabridge, as many thought a solution had been found. But he said citizens later discovered it was not a fast ferry.

Duke said since the Galleons Passage left China it had been plagued with issues, one of them being varying speeds of the vessel.

When the boat made its first sea trial to Tobago on September 1, Duke said it travelled at 22 knots - its highest speed with no vehicles and passengers, when the average speed it sailed at from China was 11 knots.

In the first sea trial to Tobago, Duke said the boat took four and a half hours. But he is predicting that when filled with passengers and vehicles, the vessel will take roughly six hours to and from Tobago.

Duke said he has already consulted with his colleagues and Tobagonians, who have decided that within the first week of sailing of the Galleons Passage “we will be racing that boat from Tobago to Trinidad and we will be using a pirogue to race the boat.”

The objective, Duke said is “to show them that a pirogue can travel the same route and reach Port-of-Spain faster than the new million-dollar vessel.

“I will show them that it would be easier to take that US$20 million…that $140 million and buy pirogues for the people of Tobago than to buy that boat and force us to travel on that boat because a pirogue will do a better job and reach faster.”

He said the Government was only deceiving the population.

“Suffice to say, Tobagonians are not happy with this Tobago-born PNM Prime Minister and I want to tell him, wearing my minority hat, you will get a surprise licking come 2020.”

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