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Gov’t to borrow US$15M from NIC to upgrade sea port and attract mega cruise vessels

By Geraldine Bicette-Joseph, GIS

cruise-ship-poGIS – The Breasting Dolphin Berth at Pointe Seraphine will be extended to facilitate the docking of mega cruise vessels.

Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Economic Growth, Job Creation, External Affairs and the Public Service, Hon. Allen M. Chastanet, at Tuesday’s sitting of the House of Assembly made a motion to parliament to borrow the sum of US$15 million.

The funds will be borrowed on behalf of the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) from the National Insurance Corporation (NIC), for the purpose of extending a berth at Pointe Seraphine to facilitate the docking of mega cruise vessels, he explained.

“This is a global initiative on behalf of the government [to go] beyond and see how Saint Lucia can maintain its position, and offer two first class facilities that will attract international business,” the Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Energy, and Labour, Hon. Stephenson King, said.

Government also hopes the project will place Saint Lucia as the number one cruise ship destination in the Caribbean.

Hon. Dominic Fedee, the Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Tourism, Information, and Broadcasting, also made an avowal in support of the motion.

He said the initiative was absolutely necessary if Saint Lucia is to increase its competitiveness.

The Prime Minister thanked both ministers for the work done behind the scenes in bringing the project through to fruitition.

(42)(8)
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59 comments

  1. This project ties into a larger project.

    A particular group has wanted to expand the dock for years and years as an anchor development, the development's next stage will involve closing Vigie field and building a large scale mixed-use 6-star beachfront resort with a heli-pad and completely transform the existing airport lands (the road would be re-routed) into a true, world-class destination easily eclipsing Rodney Bay in its splendour. As a concession, UVF will be significantly expanded and modernized.

    Ask around, check it out.

    (2)(0)
  2. As long as we all know that this may be good and necessary, but by itself and in itself, it is insufficient to significantly reduce our unemployment condition. The amount of business going beyond any local construction contracts may not create any long-term employment streams of income for locals.

    Cruise tourist spending is what that matters here. This cart may not just be finding itself placed before the horse this time around, but a long road or way ahead of it. There is lead time and slack to take advantage of this development through training those who can be trained---irrespective of age and gender.

    Yes. We may achieve the best cruise tourism award, and bask in the reflection of its light. However, it must also bring home the bacon. What are we doing to ready the working population for this eventuality. "Many a little ...."

    We keep on ignoring the impact and potential contribution of economic projects, outside of providing ready-made jobs. That is short-sighted.

    Moreover, there is no mention of the foreign exchange component to this capital investment. This is not a criticism of the project per se. It is just that there is FOREX economic reality that has to be either earned, or borrowed.

    The local component of the borrowing too, is not an economic disaster in any way.

    It just worsens the index of the debt-to-GDP ratio. As with any kind of borrowing, there is the expectation that the decision to borrow was made on the basis of leveraging the capital, such that it brings in train, a higher rate of return (ROR), than the cost of capital (the interest rate at which it is being borrowed).

    The report or reporters irresponsibly gave this short shrift.

    (29)(1)
    • CALIXTE JORGE JR'S DOG

      You just made no sense. The government is taking a loan from the NIC which will be paid back under concessionary conditions to build infrastructure which is necessary for economic growth. Go walk out of the house of parliament like you planned to do it...almost like it was planned in front of a mirror that morning. Sit down. Let the grown ups run the country!

      (1)(13)
      • Hooray! It barked.

        (24)(0)
      • If it is from NIC old chap, under what conditions did you expect the loan to be repaid?Isn't NIC a government financial institution? China builds infrastructure and that remains unused or underutilized.

        North Korea builds infrastructure too. Watch how the robotic civilians guide non-existing traffic around the ghost iron and concrete structures.

        Get a hold of your political self. Get a grip. Perhaps the non-partisan issues written above, went right above your head. It would seem so. Pathetic. One has to conclude, that as my favourite teacher likes to say, 'you can't see the forest, for the trees'.

        (7)(1)
    • What is curious is how comes government is telling us that the amount borrowed is US$ 15 million and it is coming from the NIC? Is it the equivalent of $15 million multiplied by 2.70 EC$? Is NIC repatriating US$ 15 million, or does NIC have a US dollar account? How does NIC become a responsible guardian of funds flowing inwards?

      (1)(0)
  3. This tourism industry is distroying our social fabric , (
    the family ) through it's hotel plant . One day we will wake up and find that half of our annual budget will be spent on fighting crime and maintaining our prisons. Agriculture and manufacturing must be given top priority. This is a warning, pay heed before it's too late.

    (13)(2)
  4. I see a lot of people are against St. Lucia progressing only because their party not in power. Hey, its no sense to shoot yourself because your leader in not in office!!! What is wrong with St. Lucians? I have said before that thousands of St. Lucians need psychological evaluation and help because of an abusive relationship with politics and politicians in the past and the incapacity of their own education to deal with it. This has happened to most St. Lucians over 40 years old. It is quite a phenomenon for academic study.

    On another note specifically to the labor party (SLP), when are you people going to realize the difference between politics and survival? There is a huge difference. People should not be doing their utmost to polarize the country on issues which may be in their own interest. The days of La Rose and La Marguerite rivalry has softened a bit and as it is now the present generation doesn't even have preference for any particular flower. Lest us also reflect that in our politics, there should be less opposition to ideas that would obviously benefit us. Is it all about contracts and selfishness?

    To the politicians stop being so vindictive in controlling ignorant people with promise of contracts. We could soon have a civil war on our hands if politicians don't pay attention to their level of nepotism. Politics has its kickback, but we should avoid instilling that dependency/patronizing kind of relationship with the people. We should aspire to parties being preferred for their policies and not "whats in it for me" menatality. You think the children don't know the difference? Adults please don't appear to be less shophisticated or educated than your children, although I think that you genuinely are.

    (9)(7)
  5. This can be a good initiative if we can make the city of castries safe again, what does it benefit us if we get more ships in the harbour. When most of the passengers don't disembark, those that do enter castries are targeted by thieves and harassed by vagrants. So if we want to get the full benefit of this upgrade we need to tackle the crime situation in the country first

    (21)(1)
  6. Long overdue Mr. PM, everything happens one step at a time. I think the water front should be looked into because there can berth about three cruise ships and also the foulachaux area can berth another three. It can be done, let's get it done! Good move!

    "Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word."
    – Acts 6: 4

    (4)(2)
  7. Everything is about tourism! Not an word or a credible investment to fight crime or to improve our very own Agricultural initiatives or even sustainable energy.....not a fing word!

    (19)(3)
    • But wouldn't you need the money to do all what you are suggesting? You cannot put the cart before the horse.

      (1)(3)
    • try living off of agriculture. it is a break even at best living. face it, the only reason st. lucia is known world wide is because of tourism. if you don't adapt, then you fall further behind.

      (4)(5)
      • This comment is most likely from someone who is not knowledgable about agriculture. "a break even at best living"? During the glory days of bananas, it was agriculture which sustained the country, not tourism. Yes, we lost the preferential markets, but we also sat on our hands while the money flowed to improve and move up the production stack.

        A statement like this is based on a lack of knowledge. Even the developed countries that we seem to aspire to, have agriculture as major industries - France, UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, etc.......

        We need to do it right and it will be a long-term undertaking, but agriculture, and not tourism, is what will save us from the vagaries of fickle western economies and leisure-based industries.

        (1)(0)
        • Mortgage your house. Identify a market. Buy o piece of land and show us idiots how to make plenty money in agriculture. In other words put your money where your mouth is.

          (0)(1)
          • Bitasyon did put their money where their mouth is!! You Margaret on the other hand is living with your head in the sand. It takes a country to feed a nation! (literarally )

            (0)(1)
  8. i believe that the govement should concentrate alot more on the agricultural sector. how ever this should help promote the toristism industry.
    the govement is now promoting taxing the unemployed st lucian that will not get a job in or around this project.we need better sences to manage the so call st lucia running as chastanet business. let us stop this now as it may be too late my people. have a good day god bless.

    (14)(2)
  9. Great job!! Hats off great initiative!! All the taxi drivers and tour agents in St.Lucia will get something o do. Great job, long overdue!!

    (6)(7)
  10. The prime minister thinks just like those st.lucians who are selfish and full of ambitions which only destroy themselves, people and things around them. These type of people are poison. U plan of destroying a breasting place for dolphins just to accommodate ships which one day decide to stop docking in st.lucia. St.lucians open your eyes. Instead of listening to your people, government is doing whatever they want without a care in the world

    (9)(14)
    • "Anonymous" your statement is completely off the charts on the stupidity or naivety scale, whichever one you choose. Where is that "breasting place for dolphins" that the PM plans to destroy to accommodate cruise ships?? Is that somewhere in the harbor?

      (1)(3)
    • I'm confused, does this mean the dolphin circus is moving to Castries ? Do Dolphins even have breasts?

      (1)(2)
  11. Our airports need upgrading too. Hewanorra is no international airport. Have you seen the airports on the rest of the islands? Please do something about Vigie and Hewanorra.

    (12)(1)
  12. Our airports need upgrading too. Hewanorra is no international airport. Have you seen the airports on the rest of the islands? Please do something about Vigie and Hewanorra.

    (5)(1)
  13. If The QE"2" has to anchor outside the Harbour, what makes you think that a mega ship will be able to manouver our harbour?

    (1)(0)
  14. Spending all our borrowed money to attract tourist here and giving away our land for fifty cents a half acre. Is it worth it when at the end of the day, it may just make a dent on the unemployment figures and the masses remain hungry.

    (13)(3)
  15. lucian at heart

    Lb you are veryyy correct. I have been on cruises and I have also travelled quite a bit. You meet so many people who admit to having saved money either for most of their adult life or many years to save to go on a cruise. When th ship docks many of them carry food from the ship with them so they wont have to buy food at the destination. Many also are just comfortable with either walking around close by the port or just hanging out on the ship. Few of them would actually go to "spend" money in the true sense. So making such a huge investment I am not convinced that we will get the ROI that is expected! I would love to see any real analyses that have been done before this announcement/iniative!

    (3)(1)
  16. Janice Williams

    Smh. Smdh. More taxes and more government borrowing while you fire people.
    Vote for Chastanet they said. He would run the country like a business man they said. Yes. Like those who put their profits over people only to sell out the business when their pockets are filled and live the loyal employees jobless. He is already selling us through DSH and Dolphin Park. It's just that we are seeing no profits.

    (25)(22)
    • clearly you are not a business person........ the fundamental difference between the rich and the poor is "mindset". With your mindset you deserve to be ruled by a brutal dictator.

      (6)(8)
    • idiot. the plan has just started. typical slp complaining. they want things to happen now. it is funny because when they were in power nothing ever got done. profits? idiot, the business has to begin first. the slp is so uneducated about the operation of businesses

      (5)(5)
    • U talking crap just be objective and open up your eyes to see the light

      (2)(6)
    • But who said Allen is or was a businessman . His father is the businessman whilst he is the spender.

      (2)(1)
  17. Honorable Dominic . Hats off the u and the government of St lucia , l work on a cruise ship ,and you have to see the amount of ship docking in St Marteen .There are 9 ship at one time every day .

    St Marteen would have at least 20,000 people in on day.

    There is nothing in ST Marteen . We have so much to offer in St lucia .
    The government just have to step the security of the island .

    (34)(7)
    • Waw you said it right... working on a ship and seeing how little some of the islands have to offer yet their ports hold soo many more ships and how safe it is out there it's amazing. I was verbally abused a few months ago just because my name tag said St Lucia. When I asked the wife of the man who seen very mad at me when I had only met them for the first time why is he so upset... I was told that's the island in which my husband got robbed. Lord knows how I felt

      (12)(3)
    • This is so true go for it to big up SLU as the mega port for tourist

      (1)(1)
    • GG, you work on a ship you say. You say St. Maarten has nothing? Then why do so many ships go to a place that has "nothing"?
      St. Maarten and St. Thomas are very similar cruise ship destinations and are actually considered competing ports. Front Street on St. Maarten and Main Street on St. Thomas are very simialr, even having branches of the same stores on both (eg. Boolchands, Diamonds International, Colombian Emeralds etc) Their cruise ship ports were developed over years to cater to the cruise ship tourists by offering then duty free deals that are not found anywhere else. Jewelry and electronics are bought at very affordable prices.
      There are no other ports in the Caribbean that can compete with those 2 islands. The BVI cannot compete with St. Thomas, not even St. Croix. If you work on a cruise ship then you should know that the briefings that they have on the ships every night to inform the guests of where to go, excursions, best places to shop etc. Guests are actually advised to wait till they get to those islands to spend most of their monies there as they will get more for their money and they can claim them as duty free when returning to the US. SO there is no comparison there. What St. Lucia has is a natural beauty and cultural heritage that can only be rivaled by Dominica. Jamaica is a brand by itself...can't compete with that at all...(Majority of American's think Jamaica is "The Caribbean") People come to St. Lucia for the naturalness, the friendliness of the people (crime is an annoying issue EVERYWHERE so that cannot stop anything...just look at Jamaica's homicide rate...Ships and tourists keep going though...why?)
      We NEED to DEVELOP/BUILD the St. Lucia BRAND..not the concrete, steel, asphalt jungle called "development". The tourists have that where they come from already...they don't come here to see that type of development. They love to see fresh fruits, markets, local spots etc. Our natural beauty and the people is what we need to allow to shine and show off(The land...the people...the light...sounds familiar?

      In The BVI, the ships dock on Tortola and tourists are ferried over to Virgin Gorda to go to the Baths. The "big" taxi /tour operators make some money because they have pre-arranged deals etc, the small man who have a single taxi etc...they have to fight and argue to try to get a chance. The gift/souvenir shops barely make money from the tourists. Mind you tourism is one of the two industries that the BVI depends on to generate their income. So how then do they make money?...The tourists that stay on island at the hotels, villas etc. That is where the REAL money is made. That is where the money is injected into the local economy. The car rentals, taxis, restaurants, souvenir vendors etc. The money is spread around. Cruise ship passenger do not NECESSARILY spend money every time the ship docks! And yes a resort in the south would be way more beneficial to the economy and the small businesses and entrepreneurs than a horse track etc.

      (3)(1)
  18. That i is laughable,He He He He he he he he he he he he ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haw haw haw haw haw haw mega ships in a bath tub, whose Idea was that.

    (5)(26)
    • It's best to be thought a fool,then open your stink mouth and remove all doubt. You just like school on Sunday. No class you freaking idiot,go away get out of here and take your lack of intelligence with you bloody donkey we all see how you can bray he he ha ha haw haw. Sack way in wowa.

      (19)(7)
    • I guess you were among the many who said "Damn that Dam." Now you complaining when no water.

      (0)(1)
  19. I'm sorry ... I'm not so much in favour of widening the harbour to invite mega cruise ships. It is a widely known fact, that the passengers are not that great at spending their money here. Sure the "Arrival Figures" look great - but what do they leave behind? The only entity which gets its rich reward is SLASPA from "docking fees", and possibly a few tour operating companies ... but how much of this filters down directly to Joe Public? I don't think so.

    (22)(8)
    • Isnt 1000 people spending $1 better than 500 spending $1. Sometimes I think we are too negative in St. Lucia.

      (2)(4)
    • so do you prefer that SLASPA and tour operators benefit less ? Should they go elsewhere?

      (0)(0)
    • it comes from the taxes and fees they pay to enter st lucia. yeah, lets close down the harbor because idiots like you say no money is coming in to st.lucia. all of those passengers that are taking tours, buying goods and eating at restaurants are getting it for free. no locals are making any money. yeah right some people are so stupid. widely known fact? to who? the slp. some money spent is better than no money spent.

      (2)(4)
      • To Luciaboy - stand in line for the "stupidity" mark on your forehead. You represent yourself as one of those who have come away from the political cloth with a "divisive" mentality. I am one who does not just look at the flat picture; but picks it up, looks around it, under it and on top of it, then come to my conclusions of the picture. SLASPA and the rest are sitting on a pile of $$$ which the government can (and should) borrow from, just as they are now borrowing from the NIC. My 2 cents is, instead of upgrading the harbour, put the millions of dollars into agricultural industries for export (money for the locals!!), to put St Lucia "out there" ... then we can see how much money SLASPA is putting back into the economy. Nothing "stupid" about that!! And so you know, I am not SLP or UWP, but a "progressive" sans divisiveness.

        (1)(0)
    • Lb...You are so right! See my response to GG above.

      (1)(0)
  20. What St Lucia (and the wider Caribbean basin) needs is more industry (design, create, export) towards marketing and supplying OUT to the international scene.

    Agro processed foods;
    Health and beauty products (agro);
    Aqua cultured products (fish, crusteceans, algae products);
    Dyes;
    Basketry;
    Candies (chocolates, jams, chutneys, etc);
    Spices;
    Wines, spirits and soft beverages;
    Sauces; etc., etc., etc.

    Once we have these "industries" in place and are exportable - St Lucia and her Caribbean sisters in arms will be raking in THE CASH!!

    Exportable industry is the way to go - we go OUT THERE! Then THEY come IN HERE to see what the fuss is about.

    Agriculture for export should be touted as the "New Industry". Can you imagine? Let tourism see for itself.

    (35)(4)
    • Lb...*standing ovation* It have been saying this for so long! Agriculture needs to be developed as another revenue stream for St. Lucia and the Caribbean. Especially with all the "fake" and bad stuff out there, we have great opportunities. Dominica, St. Vincent, Grenada and St. Lucia have the capacity to supply/feed the entire region, imagine if the region would work together like they suppose to (OECS and CARICOM)? We were self sufficient before and we can be once more!

      (2)(1)
  21. WE ARE GOING UP SHITS CREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE

    (8)(17)
  22. What's next? Raiding personal bank accounts?.... Ooops!! The banks are already doing that.

    (20)(12)

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