Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves says that the development of the “village” in Canouan should keep pace with tourism developments on the island, where an EC$250 million marina opened on Monday.
The indigenous communities in Canouan are sandwiched between high-end resorts in the north of the island, and in the south, where the marina is located.
“… we can’t be having these extraordinarily top of the line facilities in the south and in the north without the village being further improved,” Gonsalves told the opening ceremony for Glossy Bay Marina.
The ceremony was attended by Irish billionaire, Dermot Desmond, who part funded the marina, and Andrea Pignatorio, an Italian who is the main investor in the north of Canouan.
“We have made significant improvement but we need to improve those further. And I see that as an obligation of the investors to work very much with the government to develop the village. I think that is a very important thing. We have to make it a community.”
Some residents of the island have complained about the lack of access by land to the beaches in the north of the island.
Without referring to the ongoing saga, Gonsalves noted the changes that have taken place in Canouan since 1991, when foreign investors began taking notice of the island.
He pointed out that before then, Canouan was a community wedded, historically, to small scale fishing, small scale farming and other kinds of traditional economic activities.
“When you have modern economic enterprises coming in like what we have in the north and in the south, there is going to be the need for attitudes to be altered, to be changed, for traditional living to come to terms more efficaciously with modernity,” he said.
“And I want to say to the investors that they must be sensitive to these matters, including the values of the traditional community and certain sets of rights. Our people are very good-natured people and in this small geographical space, we have to live and let live. I want to urge that. It is not, again, a complicated business. It requires an understanding and compromises on all our parts,” the prime minister said.
The marina contains 120 berths, including 24 “super yacht” berths capable of accommodating yachts between 100 and 300 feet in length. Depth available exceeds 18 feet.
Over the last two years, EC$250 million was disbursed to construct the marina and over EC$100 million will be spent to complete the marina plaza.