TTMA hopes ferry brings easy regional travel
THE TT Manufacturers Association (TTMA) on Friday keenly welcomed the proposal of a regional ferry – as a boost to people’s lives and countries’ economies – with TTMA president Roger Roach urging legislation where needed to allow the free movement of goods, people and capital.
A TTMA statement quoted Roach as saying, “This is an excellent start to boundless possibilities for the peoples of the region.”
The Prime Minister recently announced a proposal for the Galleons Passage ferry to serve a route linking Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Barbados, with details to come.
The TTMA viewed the ferry as a boost to regional migration, food security, tourism and manufacturing. The statement said the ferry could ease the movement of people and so facilitate greater integration among states.
“Success of this initiative can allow for other Caricom members to come on board in the not too distant future allowing for economic benefits to all participants.”
Roach said the move could deepen Caricom integration, toward realising the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) under the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.
“It can act as an impetus to fast track the realization of the free movement of people among our member states.”
Roach believed the ferry would strengthen food security and reduce the high food import bill of these countries.
“The Caribbean region has always been vulnerable when we consider the issue of food security, as highlighted by the challenges faced by the region during the height of the covid19 pandemic 2020-2021 and in times of natural disasters, not to mention being exposed to international shocks in supply and price variations.
He said the ferry can enhance regional tourism for member states and augurs well for manufacturers of goods and providers of services.
“TTMA is particularly interested in the opportunities this enhanced interconnectivity will have for TT’s agro-processing manufacturers that will have a greater access to raw materials as a result.”
Enhanced production will benefit the local economy, via more exports, more employment, and more access to regional inputs.
Roach said, “While the TTMA remains optimistic of the possibilities which the intra-regional ferry will bring, the association awaits further details on the operationalisation, inter alia: routes, times, costing, and frequency of sailings, as well as logistics to be put in place at borders that will not derail the potential benefits of the movement of goods and people.”
He said the initiative needed not only infrastructure, but legislative frameworks where applicable to allow hindrance-free movement of goods, people and capital and hence “competitiveness for all stakeholders.”