BASSETERRE, ST. Kitts - THE Government yesterday (Sept, 22) officially opened the new EC$2.27 million West Line Bus Terminal in Basseterre.
The terminal, which was completed earlier this year, was being used by drivers on a test phase to see the best mechanism for when it became officially operational by all drivers plying their trade in the western corridor of the island.
In his capacity as the Parliamentary Representative for the area, Minister Jonel Powell commended the contractors for their work, noting that it is a project always thought needed to be undertaken to ensure those living in the western end of the island could be in comfort while they await their respective buses.
“...I am happy because Central Basseterre is on the move. It was just about seven years ago when I began my political career and I identified this particular facility as one of the facilities that had to be upgraded under a Team Unity Government,” Minister Powell noted.
Government officials have always lamented the state of the terminal prior to the upgrading work undertaken.
Former Minister of Public Infrastructure, Ian Liburd had raised the issue of the state in which citizens and residents were affected by the poor condition, often being affected by nature's elements.
Minister of Transport Lindsay Grant explained that the West Line Terminal Refurbishment Project is in keeping with the Government’s thrust to improve the conditions for bus operators plying their trade on the western section of the island, and also for operators in general.
He reminded of the East Line Terminal that was completed two years ago and was marred by controversy after the construction, security and safety hazards concerns were raised by drivers using that facility.
Minister Grant noted that the Government should be applauded for completing both projects within a short time span - within a year of each other.
“The St. Christopher Air and Seaports Authority (SCASPA), as part of its social responsibility programme, first decided to make the financial contribution towards the West Bus Terminal Project as it serves not only to augment the experience of the bus operators and the travelling public, but also to enhance the overall patron experience at the then completed ferry terminal.”
President of the West Line Bus Association Nicholson Webster used the platform to give a stern warning to bus drivers using the facility who are not in favour of the change.
“To the owners and drivers who do not want to comply with the system that we put in place, we would not allow a few bad apples to spoil or erode the fabric that has put this system in place. I am firmly of the view that all of our members who operate in this terminal agree with the new system that we put in place,” he disclosed.
Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris implored the drivers and commuters to use and care for the facility as the island pushes to remain the cleanest and most developed city in the world.
“This facility, of course, is the close companion of the east facility which we produced that officially opened less than one year ago. As if to indicate to the rest of the country that our approach is all-inclusive and that no one is left behind, we have come now to do the west,” said Dr. Harris.