Transport Minister Chandresh Sharma says the Government’s water taxi service is open for business and cruises to neighbouring Caribbean destinations seem to be the ideal venture. Sharma made the comment during yesterday’s launching of Grenada’s Spice Mas 2013 aboard the Paria Bullet at the Waterfront, Port-of-Spain. He said the State was eager to see the service, which is operated by the National Infrastructure Development Company and heavily subsidised, turn a profit.
But the only way this could be achieved, he said, was by generating new business and the planned sailing to Grenada in August for Spice Mas Carnival 2013 has given a clear indication how this can work. “It is an effort to make money. If we don’t make money the boat can’t sail. We don’t give credit,” Sharma said. “Presently, we subsidise the water taxi service here enormously. Since it’s going to have a trade element, and since it’s going to develop the culture, which has a huge trade element, we can support it.”
The event was attended by Alexandra Otway-Noel, Grenada’s Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture, and Dr Lincoln Douglas, Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism. Sharma hinted that ministers from both governments will meet to discuss and explore other sailing opportunities and later the technocrats will take over. Addressing his regional guests, the Minister said: “You said you are looking at sailing from Thursday through Sunday. You are just three hours away, which is not very far.
“We are hoping that you can meet with the minister (of Trade) again so we could further discussions on this,” he said. “Rest assured you have come to the right place…very receptive. Diesel here is very cheap, our entertainers are on par with yours, the food here is very good.” Otway-Noel said, as always, her government was opening Grenada up to T&T nationals. Although the numbers of vacationers from this country have dwindled, she said T&T remains the largest supplier of Caricom travellers to her country.
“Grenada is classified by the Commonwealth as small vulnerable economy, which means that small changes to our economic environment have a huge impact on our nation,” Otway-Noel said. “The high cost of air travel and others vying for your attention have contributed to the decline in arrivals. But it is our intention as a new government of Grenada to turn this.