Unfortunate and unacceptable.
That is how Ronald Toppin, the Opposition spokesperson on tourism and international transport is describing the shortage of natural gas that has hit the South Coast, hurting the businesses of restaurateurs and hoteliers in the area.
In a statement issued today, the Member of Parliament called for authorities to move quickly to deal with the problem, warning that the shortage could not have come at a worst time.
“We are currently at the peak of our winter season and after many years of turbulence our tourism industry really cannot withstand any more shocks,” Toppin stated.
“I can’t say that there’s any quick fix to this problem, but certainly it brings into issue the whole question of planning. The question really has to be asked ‘has the Government been investing sufficiently in the production of natural gas reserves to satisfy the demand’, or perhaps put differently ‘has the Government been taking too much profit from the oil company such that the company has been unable to make adequate investment in the production of natural gas reserves to satisfy the demand?’”
He surmised that the demand for natural gas would increase even more when Sandals opens its doors in a few weeks time.
The Opposition member added: “It is imperative that the Government move on this very, very quickly because you must bear in mind that the complaints by tourists now are directly about their dissatisfaction with the service that they’re receiving on the island and we certainly do not need to compound our problems in the industry with a whole set of dissatisfied tourists.