Government says former prime minister attempted to block cruise pier construction

Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister


Basseterre, St. Kitts – Members of the Team Unity-led government of St. Kitts and Nevis say that the behavior of a former prime minister “shed light on … unpatriotic and disloyal action” when Dr. Denzil Douglas “went to extreme lengths in a failed attempt to block the progress being made in the federation.”

During his presentation on the 2018 Budget Dec. 8, the Honourable Ian Patches Liburd, minister responsible for public infrastructure, accused Douglas, in his capacity as leader of the Opposition, of writing a letter to the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) asking that it withhold funding for the second cruise pier project.

Canadian Commercial Corporation, a crown corporation of the government of Canada that acts as Canada’s international contracting and procurement agency, is the prime contractor for this major capital project. The contracts between the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) and the CCC were officially signed Nov. 22 at the Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI).

Minister Liburd read into the record of the Honourable House excerpts from the letter the opposition leader allegedly sent to the president and CEO of the Canadian Commercial Corporation, Martin Zablocki, on July 7: “On behalf of the official Opposition in the National Assembly, I write to request that no funds be dispersed by you under the PPP arrangement with SCASPA.”   

Minister Liburd said “the Honourable Member from No. 6 (Dr. Denzil Douglas) could not accept he failed, that his government failed in implementing the construction of a very important piece of infrastructure. So what does he do? He tries to stop it using all means necessary. His actions in trying to stop this development that would impact positively on the grassroots economy in this country – the taxi drivers, the hair braiders, the restaurants, the private vendors – it’s traitorous.”

Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris, speaking during his budget wrap-up Dec. 12, also rebuked the “attempt by the opposition leader,” calling it a “disloyal act against the country.”

The second cruise pier is being financed under a syndicate arrangement between four local entities to the tune of US$48 million. The St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank has committed US$34 million; the St. Kitts and Nevis Social Security Board has pledged US$7 million; the St. Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) injecting US$5 million and the St. Kitts and Nevis Trading and Development Company (TDC) adding another US$2 million.

Work on the second cruise pier project is set to start by the end of the first quarter of 2018. The construction of the pier is expected to be completed within 18 months in time for the 2019 cruise season.