BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The second stage of construction of the second cruise pier at Port Zante in Basseterre is underway and progressing, according to the Honourable Ian Patches Liburd, Minister of Public Infrastructure, during an Aug. 3 tour of the site.
A number of officials came to view the project and watched as equipment was moved into the work area to continue laying support piles.
Visitors were shown around by Tony Butyn, JV Driver Project Manager, who welcomed His Excellency Ambassador Michael Powell; Minister of Public Infrastructure, the Hon. Ian Patches Liburd; Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris and His Excellency Ambassador Michael Powell. Viewing the project were also representatives of the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority, as well as officials representing contracting and subcontracting firms.
American Bridge, a United States-based construction company, whose projects include a some of the world’s large bridges, marine installations and other complex structures, is in the Federation undertaking stage two of the construction, which involves piling work.
“They have already started the second stage of the project and having driven some test piles they are now on the ball and according to the schedules they are actually driving the construction piles and several have already been driven,” said Minister Liburd.
Butyn added that “in the next week or so” a good number of piles will be in place.
Minister Liburd expressed delight in the progress of the second cruise pier and noted that it should be ready late next year.
“The second cruise pier will be completed barring no unfair weather in less than 15 months,” Minister Liburd said. “I am advised this will be able to simultaneously accommodate two of the world’s largest ships, the Oasis Class ships, adding that the pier would be “60-feet-wide and 670-feet-long and designed to withstand a one in 100 years cycle storm.”
Former Minister of Tourism comments
Ambassador Powell, who served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism in the Dr. Kennedy Simmonds Administration, said one of his visions then for the development of the tourism sector in St. Kitts and Nevis was the construction of three cruise piers in Basseterre.
“At the time I suggested I would like to see the six largest cruise ships in the world tied up here in Basseterre at the same time,” Ambassador Powell said.
Powell, who serves as Special Envoy in the Office of the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, noted, “We had hoped that in the 20 years of the former administration we would have had the second pier built and by now we would have been building the third pier. This is what I was hoping would have been happening. So I am extremely happy that the Lord has granted me long life to see the visions that I had 30-something years ago now coming to fruition.”
Prime Minister Harris did not rule out the possibility of a third cruise pier being constructed in St. Kitts at a future date, noting that there has been private sector interest in having a cruise facility built on the western end of the island.
Construction on the second cruise pier is in its second phase which involves piling work.
Dr. Harris said after this pier is completed, “We would then do further analysis as to what would be the next phase, and so certainly Ambassador Powell, once God blesses him with longer life, might yet be able to have the realization of a third cruise pier and would be happy to know that it would be delivered by a Team Unity Administration.”
To date, there are slightly under 50 workers employed with the numbers expecting to exceed 100 as construction progresses.
The commercial construction contract to build the second pier was signed between the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC). CCC is a crown agent of the Government of Canada, the prime contractor with JV Driver (JVD), as the prime subcontractor. SCASPA’s engineer AdeB Consultants works alongside the Director of Public Works, Cromwell Williams. The lender’s engineer is EF Douglas and Associates, with Principal Consultant Errol Douglas.
Funding for the project is provided jointly by the St. Kitts and Nevis National Bank, the Social Security Board, the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation of St. Kitts and Nevis, TDC Insurance Company Ltd. and TDC Financial Services Company Ltd.