A clear solution or remedy to the current situation of the West End Ferry terminal which was flattened by horrific hurricane Irma has not been identified, although Premier Smith announced that a solution will be known shortly.
While speaking to the media on 12 April Hon. Smith said: “I am expecting some more confirmation on the solution for the West End port before the end of this month…As far as the Road Town port is concerned we have basically finished most of the work and refurbishment and expect within a couple of weeks it would be opened.”
However, Leader of the Opposition and First District Representative, Hon. Andrew Fahie announced that the situation at the ports should have been remedied by now. In a statement issued on 15 April the Opposition Leader said: “Our Customs officers as well as all public officers deserve to be in a safe and secure working environment. We all agree that post Hurricane Irma many adjustments had to be made by all of us. However, there is absolutely no excuse for government to still be in this deplorable situation.”
During a December Sitting of the House of Assembly Mr. Fahie raised this concern with the Premier and the Minister of Communication and Works, as well as other senior government officials.
“I expressed to them the urgency to have this problem rectified even if temporary measures are used. I further gave them a solution of an entity that wished to donate a fully retrofitted trailer to accommodate Customs and Immigrations as well as the flow of traffic of travelers from the ferries and other means. I gave them the person’s name and number…All this information was clearly conveyed to the requisite authorities of the sitting government and to date, they have done absolutely nothing.”
Hon. Fahie said that he has even offered an alternative solution in an effort to have the situation rectified: “Lately, I have brought another solution to the same authorities. I have also put to them the option of investigating if the previous offer is still a possibility.”
While praising the Customs Officers for securing the West End port Hon. Fahie stressed that they should not be working in such conditions: “There is absolutely no excuse for Her Majesty’s Customs Officers to still be in such deplorable working conditions under a 10×10 tent, when rain comes or when the sun shines. There is absolutely no excuse at this time that could justify why the Ports facility at West End has not been reopened since hurricanes Irma and Maria. I commend the Customs officers for performing beyond the call of duty while working under such horrific conditions.”
The Leader of the Opposition lamented that the closure of the West End port has resulted in hardship for taxi operators who service that area: “In addition, the ignoring of the urgent need to reopen the Port in West End has caused the taxi men, car rental companies and other businesses that make their living from a functioning West End Ports facility to suffer significantly. This situation did not need money to get this Port facility up and running in a more conducive manner for all stakeholders. It just took care and concern for the wellbeing of others to have been the driving force to ensure that better was done from months ago.”
Meanwhile, Hon. Fahie has vowed to remain relentless on all the requisite Government authorities until this matter is resolved. He said he is hoping that the situation is sorted out with the urgency and attention it rightfully deserves.