by Andrea Perez-Sobers of the Trinidad Express
THE Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) yesterday called on the Government to pay urgent attention, in the upcoming budget, to the issues affecting the services sector, which was severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a report yesterday, TTSCI said among the recommendations for the tourism sector the Finance Minister should address in the upcoming budget is the urgent need to upgrade the country’s tourist sites and attractions.
‘Currently, they are in a deplorable condition. Some sites lack proper facilities, issues of rain and landslides, state of the road and security at sites is a major concern for tourism stakeholders. Grant funding is needed to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Trinidad and Tobago Incoming Tour Operators’ Association and for tour operators to promote the country as a destination at trade fairs internationally,’ said the body representing the services sector.
TTSCI said the association would also like to see more effort into the marketing of Trinidad and Tobago tourism.
TTCSI further highlighted that Yacht Services Association of Trinidad and Tobago (YSATT) needs more land in the Chaguaramas area (limited to only 2.2 square miles at present) for expansion and growth sustainability.
‘Permit the free movement of yachts be- r tween bays in Trinidad and Tobago, which is permitted in other Caribbean countries with thriving yachting sectors. Immigration Department to facilitate foreign yachts as in Grenada, St Vincent, Antigua, Guyana, St Lucia, St Kitts, St Maarten and in every other Caribbean Island,’ the release said.
Also, TTCSI put forward recommendations for the improvement of the creative sector.
It said that the Government should introduce a policy to ensure and encourage participation in international music expos and business forums.
‘Such participation should not be limited to performances by a few artistes chosen. There must be the involvement of music business managers, agencies, publicists, producers and administrators as any other trade mission. Establishment of the National Museum for Calypso Music History and as an active sector in the National Museum for the Carnival Arts and Industry. Introduction of a Carnival theme park in order to stimulate active tourism and generate year-round em- ployment for artistes and artisans in the creative sector,’ the service industries said.
Measures to protect vulnerable
The TTCSI membership recommended the following measures to protect vulnerable members of society:
• Establish childcare centres at ministries and other State enterprises. Provide support for working parents especially single mothers;
• Establishment of safe houses for victims of domestic violence abuse. There has been an increase in the number of reported domestic violence cases in the last two years. Some homes do not take children, boys, or children over a certain age;
• Free Internet services and IT education for all senior citizens (who wish to avail these services) to facilitate their banking and payment of bills, etc;
• Increase the disposable income of citizens by increasing the personal tax allowance to $100,000 because of the diminishing purchasing power of the TT dollar and high food price inflation; and
• Making nurses permanent employees. This was supposed to be done by December 2021 but was not completed. TTSCI Would like for the exercise to be completed.
SEVERELY IMPACTED BY COVID-29: The Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries recommends the Government should focus on upgrading the country’s tourist sites and attractions in the upcoming national budget. Maracas Bay is one site, favoured by tourists and locals alike, whose facilities have been upgraded in the last five years.