The newly constructed Tyrrel Bay Port at Harvey Vale on the sister isle of Carriacou is now being outfitted for operational use with the hope of completely transitioning from the smaller Hillsborough Port facility to Tyrrel Bay within the “next two weeks.”
This was the message given last week Thursday by General Manager of the Grenada Ports Authority (GPA) Carlyle Felix as he addressed the historic ceremony held to mark the formal opening of the new port facility.
Felix told the gathering that the management and staff of the Port Authority is looking forward towards what he described as a “seamless transition” as sooner rather than later “our stakeholders and other users of the facility should have access to a wide range of benefits expected as a result of the move from Hillsborough to Tyrrel Bay”.
The new port facility, he said offers tremendous benefits for users such as “the sheltered nature of the Bay and the protection from swells that occur seasonally, the deeper and safer navigation channels with an average draft of about 13 meters, more berthing space for vessels, a very spacious warehouse/transit shed, massive yard storage space, state of the art accommodation for staff and other users of the port facility, a secured facility including fencing, lighting and CCTV cameras and design to accommodate ambulance for ferry service coming from Grenada to Carriacou”.
The modern state of the art port facility was constructed by the Chinese Tiang Su Geology and Engineering Company, with assistance from local Consultant, Selwyn Woodruff to the tune of EC$7.3m.
The port is designed to house the Departments of Customs, Immigration, Port, Health and Agricultural control.
Construction commenced on January 19, 2017 and was due for completion and delivery last December.
However, Felix said that “extra time was required to facilitate and implement a number of new ideas and suggestions from various stakeholders, including our Board of Directors and our Customs and Immigration departments”.
Apart from the additional security lighting and CCTV system, some other changes included “the paving of the yard, painting of the parameter fencing, construction of an emergency exit gate, and wheelchair ramps.
The Port Authority boss said that the most significant extra work to be done was to the design of the passenger terminal/welcome centre, which was “changed from a local and domestic passenger terminal only, to one that is now designed to handle passengers from international and regional ferry”.
Felix urged potential users of the passenger terminal to “help us to take care of the facility and do not abuse it in any way.
“After all it has already cost the Authority EC$7.3m to construct the entire facility and we really do not want to have to incur any major set of expenses over and above routine maintenance any time in the near future”, he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell, who is the line minister for the Ports Authority.
He spoke of looking forward to the maintenance of the facility as it is seen as the “pride and joy of the people of Carriacou and Petite Martinique”.
“It is important that when we expend serious resources that we take care of those facilities for the people and for generations to come”, PM Mitchell told the gathering.
Noting that a port at Tyrell Bay was the vision of former Member of Parliament for Carriacou and Petite Martinique, Elvin Nimrod, who was unable to attend the ceremony, the Prime Minister commended his former Deputy Prime Minister for his vision as he focused on the many economic benefits that can be derived.
“This has enormous potential in all sense of the word and therefore…I am particularly pleased with what is taking place here today because it has enormous implications for economic spinoff for the people of Carriacou and Petite Martinique and the people as a whole,” he said.
Dr. Mitchell recalled the recent visit received from an executive team from the Board of Directors of Carnival Cruise Line who he said “made the point that they are going to be extending further cruises to Carriacou and Petite Martinique”.
“You know what that means sisters and brothers, more opportunity for the people of this area”, he said.
“It is significant (that) all (of) these things are happening,” PM Mitchell declared.
In her address at the ceremony, Member of Parliament for Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs, attorney-at-law, Kindra Mathurine-Stewart referred to the many expectations for the two small islands once the new port facility is operational.
She cited a “significant improvement in the service to port users, a reduction in cargo delivery time and improvement in vessel turn-around time.
The female minister was also high in praise for the new Welcome Centre put in place at the port facility.
“I am particularity proud”, said Minister Mathurine-Stewart, who added that, “no longer would we have to stand and wait or even run in the sun, wind or rain in order to board our ferry of choice”.
“We will be seated and accommodated in the comfort of our new terminal as we embark on our sea journeys,” she said amidst applause from the gathering.
The Parliamentary Representative pointed out that the new port would not only ease the burden of transacting business but will also allow for increase in the volume of businesses brought to the sister isles.
“More people would want to do business here now that the facilities are here,” said the female government minister as she expressed confidence “that these facilities will open new opportunities for our people with larger ships berthing here at times.”
According to Mathurine-Stewart “many services would be offered to support the new port” and already jobs have been created and much more will come now that it is completed.
“…We can all appreciate the economic value and the potential of a port to a country and I know that the Grenada Ports Authority will ensure that this port lives up to its fullest potential especially at this time when Grenada is positioning itself to be lead in ICT”, she said.