Hon. Lindsay Grant - Tourism Ministry Seeking to Address Erosion of Beaches

Basseterre, St. Kitts – The Ministry of Tourism is considering implementing a coastal erosion and mitigation project in an effort to enhance some the beaches on the island to fight against erosion.

The announcement came in parliament last week from Lindsay Grant, the tourism minister, where he stated that his ministry is very close to reactivating the project.

“We recently requested funds to secure the services of experts who can advise on how best to proceed with recommendation we have [that were] made in 2015 by the Smith Warner report,” he said.

Grant then gave details into what would be the main objective of the project, indicating that it will target South Frigate Bay and Friars Bay.

“The object of the project is to develop and implement a beach protection system that supports the re-nourishments of the beaches, both at South Frigate Bay and also at Friars Bay, for the long-term preservation of the replenish locations,” he said.

Grant then noted why the intervention is critical for the areas mentioned.

“[It is] to preserve sustainable livelihoods among business operators, both at South Frigate Bay and at Friars Bay, who make their living by selling food and services to visitors and locals alike and who use these very beaches,” he said, adding that these beaches once attracted many visitors to the island and are still frequented by locals, but have seen a significant drop-off in business.

“Practically all the businesses are reporting decreased traffic and disappointed beach users because of the state of the beaches,” Grant said.

He added that once the work has been done, the areas will add value to the visitor experience and encourage increase use by locals.

“Without this intervention, we believe we will continue to see [a] mass exodus from operators at these beaches to Cockell Shell, which is already under severe stress from overcrowding,” he said.

The tourism minister indicated that problems at the beaches have the potential to lead to a “significant reduction in our cruise and visitor arrivals generally, and also in revenue to entrepreneurs and the country as a whole,” he said.

Grant also gave an update on the upgrade work being done on the Frigate Bay Strip.

“Most of the infrastructural work has been completed: roads constructed, sidewalks and wheelchair access and ramps completed, delivery and pickup points completed, extensive network of underground water completed, sewage and electrical lines completed and the entrance roundabout completed, all to the tune to date of $2,523,906,” he said. “The parking area is to be completed and as we prepare to embark on the next phase, all these elements will be finalized.”