The Barbuda Council has taken on the mandate to repair the lone seaport on the island in order to make it safe for boats to dock.
That’s according to Council Chairman Kelvin Punter, who told The Daily OBSERVER the port demands immediate attention because it is falling apart.
“It’s really a risk now with the ferry coming in,” he said. “It’s really a hazard.
“We can’t just wait. The ferry has to operate; the cargo boats come in all the time; and the fishermen utilise it as well,” Punter added.
The chairman noted that they had been hoping Antigua Barbuda Port Authority, under which the port falls, would come forward and do something, but they can not wait any longer.
According to Punter, last year, the council took some estimates and is awaiting some materials from Antigua to start work.
When asked if Council has the available funds for such a venture, the chairman responded, “We have to find it somewhere. We may not have the money up front, but at the end of the day, it is one of those facilities that is absolutely essential to the economic and social life of Barbudans.”
Meanwhile, Community activist John Mussington concurred with the chairman’s description of the state of the port and the negative impact it is having on the boatmen and fishermen and by extension the rest of the community.
He lamented the fact that the port has been allowed to deteriorate to such an extent that it is now dangerous for the cargo boats, the ferry and even for ordinary people to traverse the area.
“It’s actually interfering with the operations of cargo boats … For a ferry to operate safely, you definitely have to upgrade it to a particular standard,” Mussington said. “The entire structure needs to be re-engineered.”
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)