By Loshaun Dixon
Basseterre, St. Kitts-CEO and co-owner of Christophe Harbour Charles ‘Buddy’ Darby said this is one of the most exciting times at the harbor with everything falling into place.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Darby said,“The hardest thing was to say we are going to do a beautiful beach club over here and try and get people to buy plots of land based on the fact you’re going to do this beautiful beach club.
“People can see the quality levels and see what we are all about.”
Darby spoke about the state of the art 24 slip marina that boasts the largest fuel pump in the eastern Caribbean as well as Wi-Fi and pump out stations.
“That is probably the largest fuel farm in the Eastern Caribbean with 40,000 gallons,” he said. “Two Saturdays ago we were so excited, we fueled the first boat with 30,000 gallons. It does about 125 gallons a minute. “
The harbor director said, “Those of you who have been here all your life know that we are in very fertile cruising ground for mega yachts. We have coupled with the Yu Lounge where we could be the gateway to Caribbean cruising.
“You come to the Yu Lounge clear customs and be on your boat in less than 30 minutes. There are not many places where you can do that.”
Aeneas Hollins, director of yachting at The Marina at Christophe Harbou, said they are in the center of the cruising region since the island is less than 50 miles from Antigua and St. Martin, forming part of the second largest cruising ground in the world.
“We are offering something very different,” he added. “These are state of the art docks and that’s speaking to good stable electricity, fuel available in the berth and the Wi-Fi. We have had boats come here purely because they heard we have high-speed Wi-Fi
Hollins added it is those little features that make a difference in today’s environment.
“In that way we may be even compliment other regional ports because they might not have that,” he said. “Yesterday we fueled a boat on its way to Antigua from Florida. It came here because we serve much cheaper fuel than they were able to get in Antigua.”
Darby also highlighted the marina operations building that is currently under construction. It will house customs and immigration as well as other facilities used by yacht crews when they dock at Christophe Harbour.
“This building is the customs house that is modelled off the old treasury building at Port Zante,” he said. “That was our inspiration. What you see there is going to be all the marina operations, customs and immigration so when you come in you can clear customs and immigration all in that facility.”
He also stated that on the far side of the building their will be a lounge where crews and a gym where they can work out.
Darby said a copper dome roof will be used on the building and will stand out “like a beacon at night.
“You will be able to see it from all over because it will be lit up at night. The roof is a steeply pitched roof and we used the materials we reclaimed for the South of France.”
He said on either side of the building will be retail shops, some of which will be opened before Christmas.
The harbor director said the government had given them the tools to be competitive and that it was up to his organization to bring business to The Marina.
“The government has provided us the tools to be competitive in a highly competitive environment,” he declared. “We have all the tools now and one of the things is getting the word out and getting the boats here.”
He said half of the marina slips have already been sold and that 30 homes have already been constructed in the area.
Darby said the harbor currently employs about 140 Kittitians and Nevisians and that 95 percent of the contractors are from the Federation.
“We have not laid off one person since we started this project,” he said. “A couple of bad apples were asked to leave but we have not laid off anyone for lack of work.”
He also gave an overview of one of the main attraction at Christophe Harbour.
“Most of you have been to Salt Plage. It was conceived for two reasons: we had no place to watch the beautiful sunset and, more importantly, it was a public place where people could come together the Kittitian side and the Ex-pat side.”
Darby said the aim of his organization is to help promote tourism in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“At the end of the day we provide a lifestyle that likeminded people want and enjoy,” he said. “The core of that is real. They want real things and they are environmentally conscious. The person who has to deliver on that lifestyle is very key.”
He also gave an update on the golf course that is yet to begin construction.
“The golf course is finalized and planned so we are in the stages of figuring out when to build it,” he said. “It will be the world’s most dramatic golf course built in the last 30 years. Six holes go along the Harbour, then it marches up to about 450 feet and the whole time you are looking at the Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans and looking over at Nevis.
“We have 30 completed homes, some of them very substantial. For a community this young that is a lot.”