The Government is targeting the end of the year as the time to begin construction on heralded 2nd cruise pier at Basseterre's Port Zante (Saint Kitts and Nevis), after receiving a report from Ernst & Young, an independent international accounting firm.
Minister of Tourism The Hon. Lindsay Grant told The Observer the delay in starting construction was because the company undertook an independent study on several proposals under consideration by the Government.
Mr. Grant said the company examined two proposals that were presented to the Government to determine which was best for St. Kitts and Nevis. He added:
“We were waiting on Ernst and Young to bring back their report. I am advised the report is in and now the last step is for the Cabinet to look at the report and determine the best way forward."
Mr. Grant said building the pier has been a ‘long outstanding’ matter and he hopes the project can get off the ground quickly since it will be in the best interest of St. Kitts and Nevis. He expects before year-end that ground will be broken and said:
"We are almost there in terms of finalization of the matter.
“We in Cabinet could make an assessment, but we wanted an independent expert to determine which one was in the best interest of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Talk of constructing the pier has been circulating for years. The project was revived last year after the election when Team Unity signed an agreement with the Canadian Commercial Corp. Plans are to build the new pier along the Port Zante area so it can accommodate two mega ships at a time.
Minister of Public Infrastructure The Hon. Ian Liburd in a recent interview told this newspaper the Government wanted to start construction on the pier as soon as possible because during peak periods, the container facility in Bird Rock would have to accommodate additional ships. He also said it was affecting business at that end because all ships coming into port would have to wait until the cruise ships leave the facility before they can dock.