ST JOHN’S, Antigua — As the country continues its climb to economic resilience, the government of Antigua and Barbuda has embarked on a multimillion dollar port modernization project.
According to minister of information, Melford Nicholas, during the weekly Cabinet press briefing, “More than US$90 million will be expended on modernizing and enlarging the current Deepwater harbour cargo port. The resources have come from the China Export/Import Bank in the form of a low-interest loan, with very generous interest rates, and a moratorium on repayment.”
This, according to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, “will be the single largest public sector investment undertaken by any government, past or present and will facilitate the transformation of the facility into a regional transshipment port.”
The port modernization project, which is scheduled to have its ground breaking on Monday, will see a large-scale effort placed in completing the task.
Chairperson of the Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority, Senator Mary Clare Hurst, highlighted some of the renovation tasks planned for the project. She stated that the new facility will be equipped with a new and extended seawall, new and expanded operations area, a maintenance shop, dockers quarters, a new warehouse, marine department and administration building, which will house all the state agencies responsible for facilitating business at the port. These agencies are Customs, Immigration, Plant Quarantine, Port Health, Ministry of Trade and Finance and the Port Authority. The project will also include a new carpool and a modern port gate.
The facility will also be equipped with other amenities such as a security building, fire pump house, tug berth and cross docking facility, customs detention area and a water storage area.
As with most heavily financed projects by the Chinese, there will be a trade off with workers for the completion of this project. However, while a specific number has not been determined, the prime minister has mandated that his government expects no less than 40% of the labour to be local. Additionally, an audit has been conducted by the Chinese to determine the equipment pool (trucks and heavy equipment) on the island.
According to Hurst, “The effort is being made to reduce the volume of equipment to be used on the project. When one combines the prospects of labour and equipment use, the number should exceed 200.”
The project, which will commence by April, is anticipated to be completed in three years. Port management indicated that, if all goes well, this could be reduced to two-and-a-half years.
Browne the port management both expect high yields after the completion of the port modernization. Enhanced market competitiveness, improved trade facilitation, enhanced service levels, prospects for branding, entrepreneurship, and product differentiation are all aspects that the new port will provide.
New Adults Only Resort Opens In Barbados
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, The adults-only Treasure Beach Resort has opened in Barbados. The property was acquired by Elegant Hotels Group last May, and after a US$10.5 million renovation to the older property, the transformed resort welcomed its first guests last month. Treasure Beach joins six other Elegant properties on the island.
The beachfront property consists of 35 redesigned, one-bedroom suites that all boast private balconies with garden, pool or ocean views, complete with vaulted ceilings and private plunge pools.
Treasure Beach also features contemporary artwork by local and global artists.
Tapestry, the on-property restaurant offers globally inspired dining and an open-kitchen concept where guests can watch their dishes being brought to life. The restaurant’s versatile dinner menu and theme nights will vary, allowing guests to indulge in the award-winning chef’s latest creations. The Wine Cellar and the oceanfront Batik Bar are the other food and beverage concepts.
Complimentary water sports and beach and pool ambassador service are included in each stay at Treasure Beach.
New 5 Star Hotel Slated For Anguilla
THE VALLEY, Anguilla, Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa will be the first five-star hotel to reopen in Anguilla , following the devastating hurricanes Irma that struck last September. Fountain Beach Residence, developers of the luxury boutique hotel nestled on the island’s world-famous Shoal Bay Beach, said repairs and upgrades to the damaged facilities have been ongoing for about five months. And the property should reopen on February 15.
“We’ve completed restoration of any damages that the property sustained, and have returned the hotel and spa to their award-winning five-star status,” said Jeff Goldstein, proprietor of Fountain Beach Residence.
Repairs at the property included the restoration of: the 300-year old Thai House Spa, an authentic Thai Rice Barn that was transformed into a luxury spa; guest rooms that have been brought back to their high standards and the suites/beachfront villas have had upgrades to soft goods; Internet, cable TV and telephone; and the landscaping which has been manicured and returned to its original beauty.
The beachfront was redone with additional sand and the pool areas have been brought back to their original splendour. Additionally, Zemi Beach House’s restaurants – Stone (fine dining) and 20 Knots (casual dining) – will also reopen with all new menus.
“On behalf of the entire staff at Zemi Beach House, we appreciate the overwhelming support and the volume of kind messages that we received after the hurricanes hit,” said general manager Paulo Paias. “We look forward to not only welcoming our guests back to Anguilla and Zemi Beach House…but also the people of the island that contribute to our amazing team.”
Immediately following Hurricane Irma, the Zemi Beach House team worked with several other real estate owners and private employers on the island to create Anguilla Stronger, a relief effort that was thoughtfully designed to provide the most effective relief support to the permanent residents of Anguilla as quickly and efficiently as possible. Thus far, the fund has helped to raise over $1 million for the island and its residents.