THE Tobago House of Assembly (THA) said it will be utilising expertise from Antigua and Barbuda as it moves close to "achieving the dream of revitalising Scarborough."
The Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development (DIQUD) said a visit last month to Antigua and Barbuda provided meaningful connections for planning and the effective management of ports, marinas and cruise-ship industries.
Infrastructure Secretary Trevor James was invited to the commissioning of Antigua and Barbuda's redeveloped Deepwater Harbour Port Facility on December 8. He was accompanied by manager, Project Management Office, DIQUD, Phillip Heeralal and principal architect, DIQUD, Nikisha Powder.
The THA contingent was charged with gathering knowledge about the island's existing maritime infrastructure.
The DIQUD said this objective was particularly important, given the ongoing plans for the development of our island’s port.
The division said there are potential benefits from networking with a Caribbean destination that has honed its industry to a level of international repute.
James said Tobago can learn from the approaches taken by experts in Antigua given the similar geographic and spatial constraints, noting that Antigua recently reclaimed 34 acres of land for the port’s development.
“They’ve just built their container port; they’ve extended their cruise-ship port. They are now bringing in 450-plus containers per week. They are exporting ten containers," he said.
"The same story as in Trinidad; we in the islands are import countries. The conversation in Tobago about what we’re going to sell, what we’re going to export and so on, is just conversations meant to keep us back. We’ve seen first-hand how using the marine space around us has benefited not only Antigua but all the islands.
"And we are behind the ball in Tobago and we will certainly continue to push that development plan for Scarborough. That’s one of the big things we are going to push because we need to start in 2023,”
The team was introduced to several key players in the industry including Darwin Telemaque, CEO of Antigua Port Authority, current chairman of the Port Committee of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and chairman of the Port Management Association of the Caribbean (PMAC); Rhuletta Thomas, senior advisor of Natural Resource and Environmental Management to the National Parks Authority; Senator Cheryl Mary Clare Hurst, chairwoman, Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority and manager of Nelson Dockyard.
The contingent toured a number of facilities and received insights on the methodologies of the running of the port including advantages; disadvantages of their current operations; as well as future plans for the port of Antigua and Barbuda. Similarly, the exploration of small to super yacht marinas in Antigua provided information on the history, science and other insights into the functions of the marina.
The division said the visit highlighted similarities between the two islands; and the probability for future analysis and adaptation towards the establishment of a lucrative state-of-the-art port facility.
The division said that in the coming months, and following the delivering of the findings of the ongoing feasibility study of the Scarborough Urban Redevelopment Plan, the THA will move to engage an experienced professional to develop a business plan specific to the Scarborough redevelopment plan and Tobago.