Government is spending millions to ensure fishermen can pull their boats to safety when storms and other bad weather threaten the island.
So said Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, over the weekend, as he disclosed that the Mia Mottley administration will spend more than $4.5 million to repair jetties and construct slipways.
A slipway is a pivotal facility for fishermen to save their boats from the ravages of storm-induced rough wave action, as it enables them to haul their vessels out of the water and onto a sheltered area on land.
“If you talk to fishermen, every time there is bad weather they have to shiver because they can’t get their boats lifted out, because Barbados did not have a proper slipway,” Humphrey said at a political mass meeting in support of the Barbados Labour Party’s St George North by-election candidate, Toni Moore, at Market Hill.
According to the Minister, Barbados has only one functioning slipway and that Consett Bay, St John facility is dilapidated. He said that will be replaced.
“Barbados ain’t got one proper one; we got a half, so we fixing one,” he said, adding, “we are putting in another slipway [there].”
“In Bridgetown where we are doing the jetties, we’re doing a major one there that is costing the government $650 000,” Humphrey added, saying that a haul-out facility is earmarked for the Bridgetown Port as well.
“We’re moving from a situation where fishermen can’t get hauled out at all to having four haul-out facilities for the fisherfolk and we are doing that in a time of COVID.”
Contending that no other Caribbean territory is undertaking such multi-million-dollar projects amid the pandemic, Humphrey added: “We just approved, in this Government, for Oistins, to repair the jetty for $1.3 million … in Bridgetown, $2.6 million to repair the jetties.”
Most of Humphrey’s presentation took the form of a progress report, as did that of two other ministers on the night, but he still threw jabs at the former Democratic Labour Party administration.
“We found the [Bridgetown fish] market in a state that would make your heart break … the whole place bruk down. It had not been fixed once in 10 years.”
Humphrey indicated that while his Ministry has just begun restoring the Bridgetown fixture, similar remedial work had already been done in Oistins, Speightstown, and Tent Bay.
“We just start Pile Bay for $1 million. We about to do Weston. We doing all the markets, taking care of people, because the Democratic Labour Party did nothing for them,” he said.