Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, took his first official tour of Barbados Port Inc. and the Bridgetown Port since assuming ministerial responsibility for both the air and sea ports last Friday.
The minister took the time out to speak to workers in different areas and to the vendors and other operators within the cruise terminal. He said that he was very keen on the visit since cruise passenger arrivals represented a critical area for growth within Barbados’ tourism.
“The facilities are impressive in many respects and the staff should be commended for running an operation with assets that in many cases are dated and in need of renewal and modernising. The move to the port’s master plan for modern cargo operations and for separating cruise and cargo is a must. These plans are well on the way.
“The provision for pleasure craft and privately owned vessels is also important to take tourism into new areas, and I have seen a lot today that we could extract, but the port is certainly poised to continue making the remarkable contribution it has made to national development,” Sealy said.
The minister was joined by Parliamentary Secretary, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner and other officials, manager of the Cruise Terminal and the board of directors of BPI led by Chairman, David Harding, and managers of the BPI led by CEO, David Jean-Marie.
Jean-Marie explained that the tour was to provide the minister with a view of what happens at the port and to discuss its future plans.
“We are going to be implementing the port’s Master Plan which involves rearranging the activities within the Deep Water Harbour in order to improve the efficiency of the operations and reduce ship turn around time, for example.
“The port has already spent about $2 million towards enhancement works within the Careenage, which will allow the area to accommodate more yachts. We also discussed the Sugar Point Plans for cruise and we showed the minister the barge which is currently conducting some geotechnical tests in the area,” he said.
The touring party visited BPI’s administrative building, the cargo and cruise facilities of the Bridgetown Port, the area of the Flour Mill and the Careenage.