St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The world’s largest cruise ship Harmony of the Seas docking in Basseterre Wednesday, was a development Tourism Minister Lindsay Grant described as a sense of pride for the people of Nevis.
The minister said that was because the Port Zane cruise pier built more than 20 years ago could accommodate such a large ship was something to cheer about.
However that moment of “tourism achievement” was not shared by the opposition St Kitts Nevis Labour Party, which suggested that it would have been a much greater achievement if a proposed second cruise pier had not been delayed by the Team Unity administration.
Opposition MP Konris Maynard said the timely construction of the new pier would have facilitated Harmony of the Seas and other such gigantic cruise ships being able to visit St Kitts and Nevis on a regular basis.
The former administration had intended to construct the new pier but lost power before it could do so.
“Two and a half years later after the government has changed, they are unable to start building a second pier. This means that instead of having Harmony of the Seas making regular calls, whether weekly or bi-weekly or even monthly, it has to limit the amount of calls it has to St Kitts because we simply do not have the capacity to accept them during the major part of the tourism season.”
The Minister Responsible for Transport, Ian Patches Liburd announced last month that the construction of the second pier is scheduled to begin in June.
He said at the time that the project could not be rushed because there were certain considerations that had to be taken into account.
“One of the things that we found is that when we looked at the designs, designs that we met there, they had a pier being designed for a 50 year cycle storm, one every 50 years and we had to change that because we now have 100 year cycle storms. So that meant redesigning, there’s also in terms of navigation an area to the east of the pier where it’s going to be built there was some embedded rock, so dependent on the weather some ships could not berth on the eastern portion of the dock and we thought that we should do some more dredging so that all ships, we could accommodate them here in St Kitts.”
However MP Maynard, speaking on Freedom FM Wednesday, contended that the government had ulterior motives for delaying the project.
And this is unfortunate because the plans were afoot already to make St Kitts and Nevis the ideal destination to be able to host the three largest ships in the world but because you have a government who is more concerned about channelling and funnelling the proceeds and revenue from the construction of a new pier to persons whom they want, we do not have a new pier so Harmony of the Seas can only make very limited stops to St Kitts and Nevis.”
As WINN FM has been reporting, Transport Minister Liburd has said that the start of construction is fast approaching.
"We have engaged our consultants in terms of getting us our information memorandum, the terms and conditions have been negotiated with the C.C.C and SCASPA. Our contract negotiation award is scheduled for early June and construction will start in early June and we anticipate that by 2018 our construction period of 382 days, we’ll have a brand new pier.”