Was that an audible sigh of relief from downtown merchants
we heard Tuesday?
Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell said during a government
press conference on Tuesday that his government plans to build a berth for a
cruise ship, and that’s all.
Other proposals for a berthing facility included onshore
development of retail facilities, which would have been direct competition for
the business owners who have depended on cruise ship tourists for revenue for
Many of those campaigning for seats in the Legislative
Assembly representing George Town said in a Chamber of Commerce Magazine
article that one of their main concerns for their district was the
refurbishment of the downtown area.
Mr. Kirkconnell said, “… we support the rebuilding and
rebranding of George Town itself as a cultural centre for this country and we
believe that the cruise pier will only add to that because of the numbers it
Once the clock strikes 5pm on a weekday, George Town becomes
a ghost town as office workers exit the city and cruise ships sail away from
On the weekends George Town is virtually deserted.
Concerts have successfully been held at the Royal Watler
port terminal in the past, and on special occasions, downtown streets are
closed for music and dancing. It’s been proven time and time again that the
downtown area can be used to draw people to George Town.
Rebranding and rebuilding the area as a cultural centre only
makes sense. It’s been ignored by successive governments too long.
While they’re at it, we hope government addresses the lack
of access for those with disabilities. Residents and visitors alike who use
wheelchairs find navigating the downtown area extremely difficult.
We applaud government’s plans to rebuild and rebrand the
downtown George Town area. Now we’ll watch to see when it’s done.
But the rebuilding of George Town needs to be done in all
areas, including run-down neighbourhoods.