The St. Lucia government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Global Port Holdings (GPH) to undertake the enhancement of two of the island’s waterfronts, the Castries Harbour in the north and the Soufriere waterfront on the west coast.
A government statement said the project is estimated at EC$47 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) and “upon completion of the project, Port Castries will be able to accommodate the world’s largest cruise ships.
“The reimagined Soufriere waterfront will feature enhanced docking facilities and new retail spaces for local vendors,” it added.
Established in 2004, GPH describes itself as the world’s largest cruise port operator with an established presence in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Asia-Pacific regions.
GPH chairman, Mehmet Kutman, speaking at the signing ceremony, said he hopes once the agreements are signed the project will be completed by January 2024.
Prime Minister Phillip J. Pierre said he is happy for the project and the development of the partnership with the understanding that ‘everybody has to benefit.
“You must make a fair return on your investment, we expect you to do that and that’s why you are in business, but we want our people to benefit. We want our country to benefit,” he added.
The GPH presented to Cabinet the ambitious proposals with consultant Sean Mathews indicating that “the intent of any investment such as this is not only to increase the spend but to increase those numbers and ideally if we could get St. Lucia up to a million passengers in the next two to three years it will be very positive for the St. Lucian public.
‘We really want people to spend more on the island and therefore there is a direct infusion of wealth into the economy,” Mathews added.
Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire said he was excited at the prospect of the development of the two waterfronts saying cruise ship visitors would be confronted along the proposed boardwalk by a significant number of local entrepreneurs and vendors providing various services and giving them a chance to participate in the tourism industry, to earn a livelihood and to expose a different side of St. Lucia.”