KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — The government is considering constructing a new port in this city to replace the existing one, built in the 1960s.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves made the announcement Tuesday as he updated the media on plans to build a new city at Arnos Vale, where the E.T. Joshua Airport is located.
“We have done a lot of work already improving the port… But, in mainland St. Vincent, we need to have a more modern port and twin it with real development on the whole waterfront,” he said.
Port Kingstown is the nation’s main seaport but there is also a container port at at the industrial estate in Campden Park.
The government is mulling moving Port Kingstown to the western end of the city, closer to Rose Place (Bottom Town).
The project, estimated to cost US$100 million (EC$270 million), would take community activities into account, in addition to housing and other needs.
“… we want to do it in a public-private partnership. This is one volume of the interim report … CDB (the Caribbean Development Bank) is financing this study — Port Rationalisation and Development Study. It has all the stuff in it as to what we should do and how we should carry things forward,” Gonsalves said during the press briefing.
He said he met the previous week with the Port Authority and “an investor from a company engaged in doing things in the Caribbean…
“When we come to it — as I say public-private partnership, not the state alone — we have to work out the parameters carefully,” he said, adding, “And that is part of the strategic exercise in which we are involved.”
The E.T. Joshua Airport will be decommissioned after the Argyle International Airport becomes operational, scheduled for 2014.
Gonsalves said Diamond Schmitt Architects is doing the master plan for the new city, including a traffic study.
Rush hour traffic into and out of the city, especially to and from the windward – eastern — side of the island is a “nightmare,” he said.
He added that the number of vehicles in the country have risen from 7,000 when his government came to office in March 2001 to about 25,000 currently.
“Every time we have successes and we become victims of our own successes, I have to find solutions. Everybody is going to buy their car because the middle class is getting larger in the country …” Gonsalves said, adding that congestion on the leeward side of the country is not as bad.