The controversial 10-metre long jetty on Grand Anse Beach has been commissioned, amidst burning concerns from the members of the Water Taxi Association (WTA).
The event took place on Grand Anse Beach last Thursday with some members of the association expressing concerns that the jetty was constructed at the wrong location.
“The jetty is in the wrong place, there is no doubt about that, okay?
The jetty will not be usable most of the times, based on the weather”, he said
When the tide is high, we might be able to use it, when the tide is low it is impossible to use it because people will have to jump down in the boat,” said WTA President, Emmanuel Flemming.
“The Jetty is too short, the jetty is almost on the shore, we need the jetty to be lengthened in order for it to be used properly”, he told reporters.
According to Flemming, the authorities moved the location of the jetty at least four times but still did not get it right.
“The thing is, the jetty moved four times before it came here.
Over there is the proper use of the jetty (in front Coconut Beach Restaurant)”, he said.
“The jetty was almost completed over there and all they had to do was put the casting and because (MP Nicholas Steele and (Naguib) Sawiris (the Egptian businessman behind the Silver Sands hotel) say they don’t want it there, they take it out there and they bring it here”, he added.
Another Water Taxi Operator expressed similar concerns about the lack of concern by the powers-that-be to the plight of the water taxi operators.
He said: “The President of the Water Taxi Association is here with us this morning dissatisfied because all his water taxis cannot be used.
It’s not like we didn’t make our leaders aware (of) our concern but the fact is nobody listens – we never had a leadership that listens since we lose we revolution.”
The views expressed by WTA members were challenged by Karlyn Haynes, a representative of the company contracted to build the jetty, Intrepid Civil and Marine Grenada Limited.
Haynes told reporters that all of the concerns raised by the Water Taximen were taken into consideration during the construction phase.
“For those who would have experienced storm surge and so on, if you look at the beaches, you have to take into consideration the wave break, the pattern of the wave, the weather patterns, the condition, the wind, all of that were taken into consideration in the construction of this jetty”, she said.
“The height of course has a part to play because … there is high tide, there is low tide, when there is high tide obviously the boats that’re coming in most likely would be at a higher level, so all of that was taken into consideration because if the water tide is low obviously persons would not be able to come on to the jetty,” she added.
The new concrete structure for the jetty is situated within striking distance from the Craft and Spice Market.
It is the replacement for the dilapidated floating jetty which was situated close to the Coconut Beach Restaurant and the Silver Sands Hotel that is currently under construction.
Minister of Tourism, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen who was in attendance at the commissioning of the jetty told the small gathering that the new facility is intended for the betterment of Grenada’s Tourism Sector.
“To the Water Taxi Men, I want to say thanks to you and much appreciation for finally working along with us to have this problem resolved. We have to work as a team – our Parliamentary Rep, our CEO, everybody, we have to work as a team because this is everybody’s business, if this fails, tourism fails”, she said.
MP Nickolas Steele who is also the Minister of Health and the owner of property in the area indicated that jetty was constructed to serve all stakeholders.
He said, “There have been comments concerning the location of this jetty, I have weighed in on it as well as the representative now (I want) to say that any jetty, this jetty in particular on Grand Anse Beach must serve all of the stakeholders, all”.
Chief Executive Officer of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA), Patricia Maher who was in attendance stressed that all possibilities and eventualities were considered before construction of the controversial jetty.
“It was also important that the users of the jetty were happy with its purpose. So, we took feedback into consideration in the actual construction of the jetty and of course the main users of the jetty are cruise passengers who come to Grenada on the cruise ships”, she said.
The overall cost of the jetty project was $500,000.