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The Jaden Sun, left, prepared to travel from Union Island to Kingstown on Thursday, July 4, 2024.
The Jaden Sun, left, prepared to travel from Union Island to Kingstown on Thursday, July 4, 2024.
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The government has contracted the Jaden Sun, commonly called the “Fast Ferry” to transport people free of cost between Kingstown and the Southern Grenadines on weekdays for the next two weeks in light of the impact of Hurricane Beryl on July 1.

However, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves had warned that the service is not an opportunity for internal or external disaster tourism.

Gonsalves said the service, which has already commenced, will be provided for two weeks in the first instance.

He said the vessel will operate a return trip between Kingstown and Union Island from Monday to Friday.

It will call at Mayreau on two of those days and in Canouan on three of the days.

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(Please scroll to end of this article for schedule.)

“… I don’t want us to encourage what I call disaster tourists, internal disaster or external disaster tourism,” Gonsalves said on NBC Radio.

“I don’t want persons say, ‘Well, I getting a free ride, it’s a nice excursion for me to go down to Union or Canouan or Mayreau.’ You take your sandwiches, you go for a boat ride. But when you go down, you watch. What you going do?” the prime minister said.

About 95% of structures on Mayreau, Canouan and Union Island were damaged when Hurricane Beryl slammed into the Southern Grenadines on July 1, according to government estimates.

Gonsalves said the ferry seats 200 people and if “disaster tourists” are allowed to make the trip, it would mean fewer seats for people affected by the hurricane who are travelling between the islands.

“Essential people who have to go down will go down and people from down there and with their families who want to go and do things and come back,” the prime minister said.

“So, I want to discourage internal disaster tourism so that we will have to have an administrative arrangement and we are asking the Ministry of Grenadines Affairs to put that in place,” Gonsalves said.

He said the system will not be totally foolproof and appeal to people to have good sense…

“If you want to go down to have a boat ride, well, you can organise a boat ride yourself. But don’t go and complicate the matter in the reconstruction or in the relief, first of all,” Gonsalves said.

iWitness News understands that people wishing to make the journey must first obtain a pass from the Ministry of Grenadines Affairs at the Grenadines Wharf.

Gonsalves said the service means that people who have come to St. Vincent from the Southern Grenadines because of the impact of the hurricane can travel back to the Grenadines in the morning and return in the evening.

They might take something for any of their friends or family or just to see what is happening and come back up in the afternoon,” he said, adding, “So that we will have this interaction and to make things better for everybody.”

Ferry schedule

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