Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Minority Leader and Public Services Association president Watson Duke will proceed with his planned “Swim Protest” today despite calls for him not to try it due to the danger associated with it.
During a press conference Scarborough Fishing Facility yesterday, Duke said the demonstration is being done “with Tobago in mind to highlight the many inter-island transport issues that were being put on the back burner by the Government.”
Saying he was ready to swim, Duke added: “Tobago is ready for the opportunity to decide its own future, a simple thing like sea bridge and the air bridge must to be decided by Tobago.
“For 125 years and eight months Trinidad has decided for us and still we have been battling problems after problems. We are saying the time has come for Tobago to be the final decision maker on the ferry it wants, on the type of airline system it wants operating the air bridge, so this is what tomorrow (today) is about and if we are ready for that, yes we are ready for that tomorrow.”
Duke said he had no point to prove.
Apart from Assemblyman Farley Augustine and members of the Fisherfolk Association, Duke was tight-lipped about the number of people who would be supporting him during the swim.
He also sent a message to his critics who believe he will not be able to make the entire journey
“It’s by any means necessary and we will hold fast to that. The idea is not to prove that we are the best swimmers or make the Guinness World book of records, but the idea is to ensure that Tobago is placed on the national agenda and if nothing is done within short measure, short order, what will happen, we may actually be forced to swim and go back to trading using fishing boats and canoes, that is the reality,” he said
Commenting on the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard’s warning that they will not be able to give support during the swim, Duke said he believes that all heads throughout the country had a vested interest in the effort and would lend the necessary support
“We believe that the Coast Guard, notwithstanding their grand standing, would be present, we believe that TEMA would be present and we believe that all of the regional health authorities would be present, because who is going into the water tomorrow, is sons and daughters of Trinidad and Tobago and what are the eventualities, anything could happen, so I believe all right thinking leaders, regardless of the spare of preparation, once it deals with emergency would be on high alert,” he said.
The swim protest is scheduled to start at 8 am from the Scarborough Fishing Facility and is expected to finish in Toco.