The second cruise pier at Port Zante, St. Kitts.

With the impending completion and commissioning of the second cruise pier at Port Zante — now 98 percent complete according to the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) — Minister of Public Infrastructure, the Honourable Ian Patches Liburd is expressing optimism for the future of the cruise tourism sector in St. Kitts and Nevis.

“I’ve already seen the bookings [for the 2019-20 Cruise Season] and I feel positive that our grassroots economy would benefit most — the hair braiders, the primate vendors, those taxi drivers and restaurant owners — and I see only positive things coming,” Minister Liburd stated in an interview on Monday.

As the minister responsible for public infrastructure, he said he is particularly delighted to see this major capital project near its completion date, and he is pleased “to see the development just about 100 yards from where I was born and to see the transformation of the entire bay front.”

“I in fact was the CEO at SCASPA when we commissioned the first cruise pier and to now see I have moved to the position of minister with responsibility for SCASPA and commissioning, hopefully shortly, the second cruise pier,” he added.

The completion date for the second cruise pier was recently revised to Nov. 08 from Sept. 23 after three on-site operating badges received significant damage as a result of the passage of Tropical Storm Dorian last month.

The US$48 million project was undertaken on a Government-to-Government arrangement between the Canadian Government, acting through the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), and the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis.