PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY LAUDS ANGUILLA-ST MAARTEN DOCK Would Support Investigation

anguillian
By anguillian January 6, 2014 09:15

PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY LAUDS ANGUILLA-ST MAARTEN DOCK Would Support Investigation

 

The Anguilla St. Maarten Dock at Simpson's Bay (The Anguillian Photo Archives)

The Anguilla St. Maarten Dock at Simpson’s Bay (The Anguillian Photo Archives)

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Signing of MOU

Mr. Haydn Hughes

Mr. Haydn Hughes

Anguilla’s Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Mr Haydn Hughes, has lauded the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Governments of Anguilla and Dutch St Maarten. The MOU relates to the new ferry terminal which the Anguilla Government, through the Anguilla Tourist Board, constructed at Simpson Bay at a cost of just under a million EC dollars.

“I am very pleased and happy with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding not only because of the functional cooperation between the peoples and governments of Anguilla and Dutch St Maarten,” he stated this week. “It is also because this dock is symbolic of what Anguilla’s hospitality and tourism is all about.

“In the past we have had a situation where there was no order whatsoever. Boats would just go over and pick up persons and then travel to the immigration in Simpson Bay and it would take quite a long period. We have had significant complaints and we decided in 2010/11 to address the situation. At the cost of just under a million EC dollars we constructed this dock. The Government of Dutch St Maarten has staffed the dock with immigration services at its expense so that we can have a seamless transition in and out of St Maarten.

“Over ninety percent of our visitors come in through Blowing Point. It was therefore important that since we don’t have our own transatlantic international type airport, that deals with commercial flights, that we piggyback on the Princess Juliana International Airport. This ensures that our travellers – locals and visitors alike – who want to use that route would have a seamless and beautiful experience.
“We are working very diligently with the Anguilla Air and Sea Ports Authority to upgrade the port here in Anguilla. Along with Melinda Goddard and Black Orchid Florist, we have already started an arrival process which is more friendly and welcoming. This is being done along with the help of Mrs Wilma Broaden. We would like to do something at the airport as well, as we are getting a number of complaints from there.”

Replying to a question from The Anguillian, Mr Hughes said: “We are very happy with the dock. I know it came under severe criticism, but from the very beginning I have never ran away from the St Maarten dock. I am glad and proud to be part of it. When you compare that we spent less than a million EC dollars to develop that facility, and we spent over eighty million dollars to develop the airport, and less than ten percent of our visitors come through there, it already shows that we are getting value for money. I am very happy about this facility especially given the fact that the adjacent dock has closed and all the boat operators are utilising our dock.”
Questioned further, the Parliamentary Secretary said that initially a number of the Anguilla ferries had refused to use the dock. “That has been fixed and everybody is on board,” he replied.

The dock was constructed by the Anguilla Government under a leasehold agreement with a private landowner in St Maarten. However, the St Maarten Government has plans to extend the airport along that area in due course. Mr Hughes commented: “It is a year by year by lease because what happens is that is the Princess Juliana International Airport will be taking over all of those lands there. All of that Anguilla has taken into consideration, and we will either maintain the present dock in that situation or they will upgrade the facility for us. But we will have that dock for as long as we want to have it, so we are very happy with the Government of St Maarten. As you know, the Government of St Maarten changes very often but every government that has come in over the last three years has reiterated its commitment to Anguilla.

“This is because Anguilla is extremely important to St Maarten. If we were to develop our own transatlantic type airport, here in Anguilla, it would have a significant negative impact on the Princess Juliana International Airport. They recognise that fact and that’s why we have been able to work so well together. As a matter of fact, we have partnered together to bring Copa Airlines into St Maarten … We have been part of those meetings and we have partnered in trying to bring British Airways into St Maarten. We have already met with them and they have been very positive and so hopefully British Airways will be flying into St Maarten soon and they will afford even more opportunities for more people coming to Anguilla. We are also working very diligently in going out after a number of other airlines.

“I am also interested in bringing more airlift into Anguilla out of San Juan. As of February, we will have no less than five different airlines servicing that route so that in itself is unprecedented for Anguilla.”
Meanwhile, at a recent meeting of the Anguilla House of Assembly, Opposition Member, Mr Edison Baird, called for an investigation into the Anguilla-St Maarten dock. Commenting on this, Mr Hughes said that the former Minster of Social Development supported the dock when the Government discussed it the Executive Council. “He supported it wholeheartedly,” Hughes stated. “Now as it relates to the investigation of the pier, I am hopeful, and I did it say it in the House of Assembly that if the Hon Edison Baird would bring a motion for the investigation into the dock, I would support it one hundred percent.

“As a matter of fact the Governor (Alistair Harrison), at the behest of Mr Baird, had already started his investigation…Anything that he [Mr. Baird] needs I will be on board with him in his investigation and I would be supporting that investigation, into Haydn Hughes as it relates to that dock.”

The Memorandum of Understanding for the dock was signed on about three weeks ago. when a delegation from the Dutch St Maarten Government visited Anguilla. It was signed by Chief Minister Hubert Hughes and the Mr Jerome Roberts, Minister of Home Affairs for Anguilla; and by St Maarten’s Minister of Tourism and Transport, Mr Thaddeus Richardson; and its Minister of Justice, Mr Dennis Richardson, both of whom have family links in Anguilla.

anguillian
By anguillian January 6, 2014 09:15
  • Conz

    The dock and building is to small, the dock is to small, the driveway and loading area is to small. What is so great about tis new facility?

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