KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – It is now more convenient to access government services on the Southern Grenadines island of Canouan.
The government on Friday officially opened an EC$5.9 million administrative centre there to house the revenue office, magistrate’s court, Immigration, Customs, and the post office.
The building is one of three officially opened on the island that day.
The others are an EC$1.5 million Marine Recourse Centre and the primary school, which received an EC$350,000 facelift compliments the island’s developers.
Elena Korach, general manager of CCA Ltd., the building’s designers and contractors, said her company set out to construct a facility that truly reflects Caribbean style, while at the same time is user-friendly, welcoming and does not impose on the look of the area.
The building, which was financed by the government, is erected on 49000 square feet of land, has 12,000 square feet of floor space on two floors as well as a 72,000-gallon water cistern at the sublevel.
It is emblazoned with a copper, aluminium and brass Coat of Arms produced by Vincentian craftsman Ronald Dopwell.
“As a Vincentian and general manager of CCA Ltd., I am very proud of this accomplishment. The confidence of the government indeed allowed us to create an impressive architectural building which provides the much-needed governmental services to community of Canouan,” Korach said at the opening ceremony last week.
Meanwhile, Terrance Ollivierre, parliamentary representative for the Southern Grenadines, hailed the completion of the project.
He said that being away from the main administrative centre in Kingstown has provided several challenges to residents of the Southern Grenadines.
“Undoubtedly, the completion and successful operation of this administrative building should ultimately lead to improvements in several services provided to the people of Canouan and to the people who visit this island,” he said.
He further noted that the constituency requires improvement in the major services needed to make life there more comfortable.
“Indeed, we have problems. Some are geographical, but we certainly have an obligation to provide mechanism to overcome some of the problems and to make sure that the best services are provided,” he said.
“As parliamentary representative, on behalf of the people of Canouan, I take this opportunity to express our gratitude. … We in the Southern Grenadines, despite our geographical location and size, expect to receive our fair share of the national pie as we too significantly contribute to the development of this country, and to the economy,” he said.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, in delivering the feature address, noted that the government contributed EC$7.4 million of the EC$7.75 million spent on the three projects.
According to the Minister of Finance, the facilities were built even as government revenue for this year declined by 9 per cent.
“There is no other single facility in the whole of St. Vincent and the Grenadine that offers these types and levels of services at one single place. Canouan is going to be unique in that regard,” he said of the administrative complex.
He said the “two big projects” remaining in the pipeline are the construction of a coast guard base and a new wharf.