St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Stephenson King says the proposal by Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for a fast ferry service will bring new life to regional trade.
King told reporters at the end of the recent heads of government conference in St. Kitts “It’s a good idea, very encouraging. I think we’ve taken much too long to get to the stage.
“Regional integration cannot be successful without transportation, be it air or sea. One must recognize the success of the Federal Maple and other boats, gifts from Canada which provided a vehicle-bringing and carrying Caribbean people from one end to the other – truly integrating the Caribbean people.”
‘The proposal be it private sector or otherwise, for a fast ferry from Trinidad and Tobago to Barbados, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, etc, is a welcome initiative that St. Lucia will embrace,” he said.
“The ferry service will give a new life to business in the region and I hope member states will support it,” King added.
King has earlier said that intra-regional tourism was dropping mainly due to prohibitive air travel cost.
The St. Lucian prime minister said the success of regional integration and the Single Market and Economy cannot be without strong transport and sea transport is perhaps more important than air transport.
Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has also come out in support of the ferry service saying it will foster movement especially in terms of fruits and vegetables.
He said Grenada used to be a major supplier of fruits to Trinidad and Tobago adding that the plan would assist regional food security.
Persad-Bissessar announced at the conference about plans for a fast ferry service to link the Eastern Caribbean islands with T&T, which will not cost her government any money since it would be a private sector investment.