WB cruise facility nixed

The proposed West Bay cruise facility will not be going ahead.

The news that the scheme was being scrapped came in an announcement from Minister Charles Clifford at the Cabinet press briefing on Friday.

Mr. Clifford said that after various consultations, including some with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, it had been decided that the priority for port development was to further enhance the facilities in George Town.

That would include the lengthening of the finger pier at the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal and the upgrading of the North Terminal to create more capacity and a better experience for passengers, Mr. Clifford told the briefing.

Debate was continuing on the upgrading and enhancing of the South Terminal but there were complications because it was located on leased property, he said.

A second priority was to upgrade and enhance port facilities at Spotts and a third would be for the provision of staging areas for some pre-booked tours at other locations such as West Bay, he added.

He said he had been advised by the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association that such proposed staging areas were not a necessity and were only feasible after there were adequate facilities at the main port in George Town.

Mr. Clifford said the Port Director had now been given the mandate to proceed with the planning for the additional works at the George Town port and the Spotts facility.

He said the proposal for the West Bay facility had been first floated in the 1990s and later resurrected by a previous administration.

A total of $1.1 million had been spent on it, including $650,000 paid for the property, options for which were now being looked at, Mr. Clifford told the briefing.

A contract had previously been signed with Meisner Marine for the West Bay facility but they had been told not to proceed until further notification.

The government had now taken legal advice and had been advised that the contract had since expired.

Mr. Clifford said there would now be additional work in George Town and there could mean an opportunity for Meisner to be involved, but it would have to go through the bidding process.