BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – MINISTER with responsibility for Public Infrastructure and Transport – the Hon. Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd - is hopeful that by the end of this month, a commencement date for the construction of St. Kitts’ second cruise pier would be announced.
Liburd – who appeared on WINNFM 98.9’s ‘Voices’ programme yesterday (Feb. 14) - gave an update on the progress of plans for the building the supplementary structure at Port Zante.
“I can report to the nation that at present, the technical, financial and commercial components of the project are being finalized and hopefully by the end of this month, February, we will be able to announce the actual start date for the construction of the project.”
Minister Liburd’s comments came after a number of previously-set deadlines have slipped by.
He, however, indicated that the project should take one year to complete and it is “predicted that this new pier would be available for the next cruise season in 2018”.
The planning process – Minister Liburd explained - involved the decision taken by the Board of the St. Christopher and Nevis Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) to select the government-to-government option of the two choices with which it was faced.
The process also saw deliberations by the Cabinet and an independent review of the proposals taking place, at the end of which SCASPA’s recommendation was agreed upon.
The Transport Minister said it is expected that the input of the technical committee of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association would be had concerning the safety of the structure.
“In the mean while we have been having discussions along with the Ministry of Tourism and our major principles…I can say as well that the technical committee of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association would look at the final drawings and give their input as it relates to the safety and all other issues as it relates to the new pier.”
It is expected that the construction of the second pier would increase the island’s capacity to accommodate more and larger cruise vessels, boost the tourism product and provide employment opportunities.